An Innovative Intelligence Tool
that Enriches Both Employer and Employee
New hires bring new insights
Many new employees walk in your door
with substantial knowledge of the external environment, and some
even have direct, recent working experience with a key competitor
or company of interest, whether as an employee, vendor or customer.
it be beneficial to both the new employee and the company if, as
part of the onboarding process, you asked him or her to participate
in an interview about their perceptions of the competitive landscape – especially
while those perceptions are still fresh and unbiased by the accepted
wisdom in your company?
This type of interview is conducted as
a first-stage activity of a Competitor Alumni Program™ (CAP) – a
systematic approach to gathering valuable competitive intelligence
from your workforce.
Make employees feel valued and grateful
By inviting a new employee
to participate in these initial interviews – always
conducted legally and ethically – you
will achieve several positive results.
- Signal that you value the new hire’s background
- Reinforce the new employee’s decision
to choose your company with a greater sense of job security.
Why? Because the new hire now knows that he or she has joined a
company that is agile and not likely to get blind sided by the
moves of competitors.
- Provide the excitement of participating in a cutting-edge
activity and make the employee feel fortunate to be working
for such a forward-looking company.
Initial CAP interviews use a combination
of standard questions asked of all new employees and customized
inquiries based on a new hire’s
previous employer, function and position. Questions about
the overall marketplace and individual competitors should be asked in specific
categories, such as general competitive perceptions, corporate
cultures, business strategies, HR practices, customers and their feedback,
marketing tools and tactics, operations, technology and new
lines of business.
CAP yields ongoing benefits
The onboarding interviews constitute
the vital beginning of a CAP’s
value and form the foundation for achieving lasting benefits
from inviting employees into the network. The interviews are noted
or recorded and transcribed, then entered into a word-searchable
database. The resulting compilations are then analyzed for insights,
patterns and trends.
After the CAP interviews, focus groups and
other forms of research can be conducted to validate and extend
the insights. These focus groups can be arranged around a particular
competitor, a geographic area, or a key topic or function.
CAP gatherings and follow-on focus groups might also be
convened at a later date to hone in on critical new issues
that may arise.
The CAP serves in an ad hoc fashion as well.
When questions come up about certain competitors or competitive
situations, you can call selected employees with relevant backgrounds
to get their take.
In summary, a Competitor Alumni Program™ is an
essential component of most Workforce Competitive
Intelligence™ efforts. A CAP combines the resources of your HR and CI functions
to tap the knowledge in your workforce and help your company
gain and keep an advantage over its rivals.
Is there a CAP in
Ask yourself a few key questions:
- How many new hires do we make each
- Which functional areas do these new employees represent
and how many are executives, managers or other key talent?
those, how many come to us from direct or indirect competitors,
or from companies (suppliers, vendors, customers) that have done
recent business with those competitors?
Your answers to these questions
should make it clear whether or not it makes sense to set up a
CAP. RivalScape can help you evaluate your situation, and provide
expert assistance if you decide to develop a Competitor Alumni Program™.