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Now that we're well into January the time for New Year's Resolutions has passed. The January challenge is to review the ways in which you have been managing your employer engagement activities. Ask yourself if your management practice in this field is sufficiently robust to allow you to fulfil your resolutions, when you come to implement them.

Time for a reality check

It's bad business to keep on doing what doesn't work. Now that it's January, take a long look at how you build and cement relationships with employers, and see if they are fit for purpose.

For example, are enough employers opening your e-newsletter to justify its continuation? Are employers responding to your offers in the volumes you would wish? Do as many people attend your events as you need to make them viable? Are increasing numbers of employers following you on Twitter or joining your forums – both online and offline?

If you're not happy with the answers, take action to improve the communications process before you try to implement those resolutions you committed to fulfilling at the beginning of the year.

Time to check the relevance of what you're planning

You might have known in the past, even in the recent past, what your employers wanted from you. You might have had a clear understanding of what employers valued, what they were prepared to pay for, and what they expected to receive from you at no cost.

Have things changed? It's worth checking, because there are lots of changes in business and in the public sector right now. Many employers are recruiting fewer people. They are running their organisations with fewer staff, and in some cases they are laying people off. Do these changes in their circumstances mean they also want different things from you?

If employers are running their organisations with fewer staff, do they need more – not less – training, in order to facilitate multi-tasking? Are employers looking for more on-site training, more webinars, more bite-sized updates in order to enhance their abilities to fulfil their orders and service obligations?

Today, in January 2011, are your employers basically optimistic about the economy, or pessimistic? If the mood of your employers has changed recently, are you sure you know about it? Are you confident that whatever you choose to offer to employers this year will match their mood?

January is the time to check out current employer perceptions and plans and to ensure that the programmes you choose to promote are in tune with their interests and aspirations.

Time to offer value for money

Most providers offer value for money and always have. However, every one is looking for enhanced value today. In straitened times it's important to remind employers of the value they receive when they work with you. Now is the time to review how you're promoting your organisation to employers and to check if your statements about the value you deliver are strong enough.

Are you really reminding employers often enough of the value they gain when they work with you? If not, strengthen your message.

Time for fresh thinking

Are the ways in which you have been working with employers going to help you to fulfil your resolutions for 2011? Some fresh thinking now could help you to ensure the offers you have resolved to make, when spring arrives, are in tune with employers' wants and needs. In other words, fresh thinking now could lead to new opportunities and greater success later in the year.

Margaret Adams helps provider organisations to do more business with more employers more often. She writes on employer engagement at: Attract More Business and at Achieving the TQS


Read other FE News articles by Margaret Adams:

It's holiday offer time – or is it?

Are you assessing the value of your e-newsletter for employers?

Are you using these killer metrics to measure your success?

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