B2E is business-to-employee, an approach in which the focus of business is the employee, rather than the consumer (as it is in business-to-consumer, or B2C) or other businesses (as it is in business-to-business, or B2B). The B2E approach grew out of the ongoing shortage of information technology (IT) workers. In a broad sense, B2E encompasses everything that businesses do to attract and retain well-qualified staff in a competitive market, such as aggressive recruiting tactics, benefits, education opportunities, flexible hours, bonuses, and employee empowerment strategies.
More specifically, the term "B2E" is frequently used to refer to the B2E portal (sometimes called a people portal, which is a customized home page or desktop for everyone within an organization. The B2E portal is sometimes considered to be synonymous with an intranet, but it differs in its focus on the employee's desires. The intranet's focus is the organization; the B2E portal focus is the individual. The B2E portal is designed to include not only everything that an employee might hope to find on an intranet (such as a corporate directory, or customer support information), but also any personal information and links that the employee might want (such as stocks information, or even games). The intention is to increase not only efficiency, but also employee satisfaction and a sense of community within the organization.
A B2E portal has three distinguishing characteristics:
- A single point of entry: one URL for everyone within an organization.
- A mixture of organization-specific and employee-defined components.
- The potential to be highly customized and easily altered to suit the particular employee.
Corporations may develop their own portals or they may rely on the services of any of the large and growing number of B2E portal developers.