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HR in Asia: digital marketing strategies that are proven to work

Within any company, one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood functions is human resources

Some people may even view HR as the part of the company that just advertises jobs. How can this image be removed to allow HR to become an integral part of building the brand of a business?

The senior HR director at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Jaclyn Lee PhD, says the answer is through digital marketing.

Attract candidates through online channels

Attracting top talent in Asia can be an incredibly hard task, particularly in emerging markets. The founder of, Matt De Luca, says recruiters need to understand the gap in this locale. Where many other companies in the Myanmar area, where Matt is based, may use agencies or referrals to find applicants, he uses online channels such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.

In Myanmar, the digital channel most people use is Facebook; therefore, targeting users through this outlet is an obvious choice, especially when increasing brand awareness. It is also more cost effective.

Local and international applicants can also be attracted through Google AdWords, with landing pages created to attract candidates who are looking for a specific job in a designated area. Having a page that is optimised for this helps to create better conversions and lowers the cost per acquisition.

Keep candidates engaged through email marketing

Once you have gone to the trouble of attracting candidates, it is important that you are engaging them with your brand. At IBM Smarter Workforce in Asia Pacific, Adriano Corso is responsible for digital recruitment and suggests the approach needed is ‘recruitment marketing’.

Corso explains that the recruitment marketing funnel is something that HR professionals need to be able to utilise to engage their audience. Email marketing and other marketing automation tools are integral elements of recruitment.

To increase the number of clicks you receive through your emails, Corso suggests companies use gamification and a short video when sending out emails. He comments that when a company links to a video that explains the hiring process and what the company is about, click rates can exceed 50 per cent; in addition, conversion rates can go way above 40 per cent when gamification or real people are included. This is particularly useful for creative or tech industries and for recruiting senior roles.

Retain the best talent through analytics

Once the best talent has been hired, it is important that companies are doing everything they can to retain these employees so they do not go to a competitor. To improve employee retention, Lee at SUTD suggests you need to use analytics.

Attrition analysis, growth trends and employee demographics can all be seen through a dashboard, with Lee explaining that her team can also see any issues that people may be having with causation analysis. Looking at the reason why people in certain roles are not staying within a company is crucial for its productivity and growth.

As an example, Lee noticed that when the university moved campuses, its turnover peaked because people had to commute further. It therefore put more effort into recruiting talent in its new location whilst offering better transport to those who were in the previous location, which reduced turnover substantially.

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