The value proposition is at the very heart of how you will create and deliver value. Starting with the highest priority customer segment, the key steps here are to:
1. Identify the needs and motivations of your target segment
Although you need to focus on the needs that you can address in some way, try to go beyond the obvious and seek out insights that will potentially allow you to tackle the opportunity with an innovative approach. Explore the business and personal needs and motives. Keep asking 'why?’ Explore the problems and 'pain points' for this segment and try hard to anticipate new and emerging needs based on your deeper understanding of the external environment.
2. Generate ideas to address customer needs
Focus on ideas within your area of influence and control that will address these needs and challenges, whilst keeping sight of your own objectives. Is the need for information (reports, regular formal communications, informal catch-ups...); development (coaching, training); a sounding board for ideas; a vehicle for signaling and communicating change; a barometer of the current climate and conduit for identifying and; co-ordination or facilitation (individuals, groups, meetings...); mobilizing or aligning teams; or one of the myriad specialist ‘needs’ that HR can or should be able to address (ER, Compensation, Recruitment). Your challenge here is to identify the 3-4 most significant needs that will create most value for your target segment, whilst screening out the needs that this segment takes for granted, e.g. being paid on time).
3. Refine your value proposition.
You may find this simple template useful in helping you to clarify your value proposition for this segment and articulate the value that you will deliver: “[Name of target segment] who need [statement of need], will value [your ‘product’ or statement of what you are proposing to do], because it delivers [statement of benefits]. They will prefer this over [competitors offers / current solution / status quo], because we can uniquely offer [distinctive benefits], based on [our distinctive capabilities that will allow us to deliver and sustain the distinctive benefits].
4. Challenge your assumptions
You will need to follow the above steps for each of your key customer segments, since each segment will probably have some unique needs. If the needs of all the segments are the same, I would encourage you to review and challenge your assumptions in step 1 or find a different way to segment your internal customers, since I can assure you that the entire organisation will not have exactly the same needs and motivations when it comes to HR-related issues!
Where the objective or opportunity is significant, but you are finding it difficult to gain initial traction with your internal customers, it may be worth remembering a classic market entry strategy (in turn borrowed from the military): identify a segment or sub-group (this could be an supportive but influential group, a senior ally or a more challenging ‘kingpin’ whose support you need to secure in order to make progress) and focus your efforts there to create a ‘beachhead’. Once you have secured a strong position there, use this as a base to penetrate other segments.
In my final post, I will suggest some great tips to help improve HR communications.