What is it?
We’re often asked this question and it’s a difficult thing to define. To put it simply it’s…
…the art of using competitive intelligence to understand how many candidates are in your marketplace, what their capabilities are, where you can find them and how much they’re paid…
To give an example, if a client is considering moving one of their operations from Brighton to Preston, it’s safe to assume that not everyone on the south coast wants to move to the North West (meaning no disrespect to Preston). Some time before that clients makes the commercial decision to move, it would be sensible to understand what the capabilities are of the local workforce in Preston. You would need to ask yourself some of the following questions;
- Who are our competitors in the area and how do they rate against our business
- Who are the people we would want to target from within those companies
- What are the capabilities of those people we intend to target
- How much are they paid
- Would they consider moving to a new venture
It may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many business’ make a move based on the cost of the workforce without considering the capabilities of them at the same time.
When would you choose to map your market?
In truth there’s never a bad time to map your competitor talent market, even if you can’t see the immediate need. Business is an ever-moving machine, you never know what’s around the corner and so it’s always a good exercise to find out what you competitors are doing differently, how they’re achieving success and who is driving their growth. You might find that you could be doing even better than you think you are.
It might be helpful to point out some specific examples of when a business might choose to market map:
- When entering a new markets – what are you talent opportunities and potential barriers
- Evaluate and define your competitive landscape ahead of time – future proof
- Reduce your time to hire when the time comes to recruit
- Help define your business plan by ensuring you have the talent available to implement it
- Identify who is out there to lead a new contract before it’s even been won
- Improve the quality of your hires by nurturing the right people over time
It’s difficult to come up with a reason not to want to understand your competitive set but it takes time which is a rare commodity. It’s rarely seen as business critical – until it’s business critical!
How do you do it?
Firstly our best advice is – YOU don’t do it, you employ experts to do it for you. This has a number of advantages, not least you need to dedicate significant time to the process. Research would also suggest that people are more likely to respond to external sources than direct contact from a competitor. It’s also good to have an objective view – as great as you know your company is, it’s important to understand that others may be doing things in a slightly better way.
All that said, if you do decide to take on the task yourself, follow these simple steps which should help:
- Work out what your ideal candidate might look like
- Create a list of competitors you believe you should be targeting
- Research the roles in these companies – and what they are typically paying
- Begin to build your potential talent pool
- Make initial contact via e.g. LinkedIn
- Build out a potential longlist
- Begin a dialogue and start to build interest
- Keep in touch
It’s a lot of work but hugely beneficial in the longer term.
Clients that regularly map their market save themselves a lot of time and really start to build their Employer Brand. By making people aware that you’d like them to work for you one day you’re building loyalty and trust even before you’re in a position to hire them. This means that you can vastly improve your quality of hire – you’re no longer fire-fighting, you already know who to talk to and you know their capabilities.
For companies branching into new areas or moving locations it’s nothing short of essential.
A word of warning though – you have to do it right. If you don’t dedicate enough time and expertise to the task you can just as easily damage your employer brand as enhance it.