By Peter Mirus

Many professional service firms think primarily of customers when they consider making changes to their brand and marketing strategies. This makes sense: revenue comes directly from customers — therefore marketing ROI is most clearly demonstrated through success in the customer approach.

However, Hinge’s research has confirmed what we already knew: successful professional services firms place the hiring and retention of quality talent near the top of their list of challenges/priorities.

Your people are the product you sell. Keep the supply lines strong!

The employees of your firm provide the “product” that is sold to your customers. So in order to field a competitive product — one that can command a premium price — you must establish powerful supply lines. If your positioning and messaging architecture are focused solely on the prospective customer, those supply lines will underperform.

Formulating the right message to prospective employees and delivering that message through the appropriate channels is of great importance to successful recruitment. And it makes it easier for HR to attract top talent.

Appling communications/marketing principles and skills to HR.

In my experience, communications and marketing principles are under-applied in the job solicitation process used by many professional service firms. Proper application at your firm can help to create distinction and dramatically improve the odds of your firm's success.

Your HR communication is a part of your brand.

All public communication from your firm becomes a part of your brand — and HR communication is no different. These communications say, “This is the kind of company we are. These are the types of people we hire. This is what our culture is like.” Savvy prospective customers will look at the way your firm communicates to prospective employees to determine: (1) the quality of your team members; (2) the types of relationships that you desire in your dealings with others.

The bottom line: ROI

You can see that the benefit provided to HR (through better marketing and applied communications skills within HR processes) creates an additional benefit: your hiring practices and how you articulate them can become a differentiator that helps your company to close new business.

So there are several ways in which the ROI is created:

  • Brand and marketing strategy improves the recruiting process by increasing prospective employee lead generation, increasing the talent level, and increasing close percentage.
  • Superior staff quality leads to improved competitive performance. Over time, this will help with business development: improving contract close percentage and shortening the sales process.
  • Better people, better pricing and better contracts are factors will driving higher profits and a premium valuation for your firm.