Consumer Trends and HR

by Michael Haberman on January 5, 2010 · 0 comments


In HR we frequently talk about the “customer” of HR. I have written about this before. In my opinion the ultimate customer of HR is the actual consumer of your company’s product or service. As a result as an HR professional you should be aware of consumer trends and understand how your customers wants and desires may change how your employees deal with them. It is also true that the company’s employees are also HR’s customers. They are often driven by same wants and desires and for that reason you should also be aware of consumer trends.

To that end I recommend that your pay attention to “trend watchers” such as trendwatching.com or Faith Popcorn. Trendwatching.com just published a report called “10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010” that I think is “must” reading. Here are the top ten trends:

  1. Business as Unusual
  2. Urbany
  3. Real-time reviews
  4. (F)luxury
  5. Mass Mingling
  6. Eco-Easy
  7. Tracking and Alerting
  8. Embedded Generosity
  9. Profile Myning
  10. Maturalism

All of them are pretty interesting. But you will have to click the link to read more. All of them can be applied in some way shape or form to the workplace. But one that got me thinking as I was listening to the weather report. That is Tracking and Alerting.

Tracking and Alerting is the movement to consumers seeking information. It started as simply package tracking, something we all did at Christmas time. Now, as Trendwatch.com says “TRACKING and ALERTING is something that consumers actually need and want, that delights them, that they crave. They are quite literally asking for relevant information, even giving you permission to provide them with more.” 

How does this apply to employees and the weather you ask? Here in Atlanta this week the weather forecasters are mentioning the “S” word. SNOW! A word that translates to grocery stores being emptied of bread and milk and employees anxiously awaiting to see if they get a day off of work. Well traditionally we tell employees to call in, or be called or listen to the radio or TV to find out if work has been closed. But what if you had a company Facebook page or a Twitter presence that all employees could follow? You could make that announcement of “No Work” via Twitter or Facebook and simplify the process for everyone. Or you could do like many universities do with safety alerts and broadcast a message via text message.

I wonder how many of you already do something similar? Anyone? If so please share how you do it and whether or not it works.

After reading the consumer trends listed above, how can you apply this knowledge to your “consumers”? I will be exploring these trends in terms of employment over the next week or so and I would like your input.

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