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Section 4: Brokering Employer Relationships

Lets begin with an organisational level perspective on employer relationships. Return to the Little and Brennan table in section 2.

What other types of employer engagement go on in your setting? How are contacts shared and Customer Relationships management (CRM) handled? Are any bespoke or off the shelf software packages in use?

Activity: Comment in the forum on the strengths and weaknesses of shared employer engagement in your context?

4.2 A sales-based approach to employer engagement

A traditional sales model focuses on one buyer and one seller in each organisation, each coordinating their functional resources. More contemporary understandings allow for more direct function to function communication with appropriately coordinated networks.

Reading: Read the opening pages of chapter 12 (Personal selling) in Brassington, F. & Pettitt, S. (2013) 'Essentials of Marketing. (3rd edn)' Harlow, England: Pearson. An e-book version is available here from the University Library.

The figure is reproduced here as a word document. Print it out and use it to map your employer relations activities on to those functions.

What activities do you currently do?

What could you do better?

What would be needed to close the gap?

It is interesting to relate these ideas about selling to some more contemporary writing such as Sharon Drew Morgan's Buying facilitation or Stanley Guffogg’s ‘Open plan selling’. Read more about these in this article.

In these models, an indepth understanding of the strategic business aims or current strategic problems of an employer is needed, as well as understanding of contextual factors such as labour market situation and trends. Combined with detailed understanding of learner behaviours and aspirations as well as institutional knowledge, this in depth knowledge of is the professional knowledge base of the work experience practitioner. It uniquely positions you to provide much valued consultancy to organisations.

Interestingly, from this perspectives, many of the skills of sales are common to those we use with students to facilitate their learning and help them gain work experience.

The notes from this section will help you to complete the strategy assignment detailed on the assessment page. It sits alongside the work in the 'Recruitment Process' module on scoping placements to support all your employer facing activities.