It used to be that Marketing and Human Resources were two very separate functions within most organizations. Sure, they might collaborate on the odd employee newsletter or discuss ways to keep the company careers page on-brand. Rarely though, in a traditional business model, are the departments linked by ideology or purpose. With social media, online recruitment, and the undeniable popularity and influence of product/service/employer crowd-sourced review sites, a strong brand is necessary to reach recruitment and retention goals.
Progressive companies have become wise to all the ways HR and Marketing are inextricably linked and are solidifying their market position as an “employer of choice” by employing specialists with knowledge and experience on both sides, combining the two departments within the same physical space, or creating unique “bridge” positions that act as a conduit.
Here are five important touchpoints where HR and Marketing meet:
Reputation Building –The reputation of your company can be as easily impacted by those who work for you as it can by those who use your product or service. In fact, your employees play a huge role in your brand messaging because they have the most indepth knowledge of how you do what you do and where you make the biggest impact. When you share interesting content and success stories with your staff, they are likely to share it proudly with their own network. Word gets around about how engaged your employees are and, guess what, others want to get involved – either as team members, partners, referrers or customers.
The flip side is that there is plenty of data to show people (former employees or customers) are more likely to broadcast negative interactions they have had with your brand than positive ones. It’s just human nature and the internet has made anonymity the norm so harsh criticisms can be spouted easily and without consequence. The only way to mitigate unwanted internet comments or reviews is to surround them (bury them, if you will) with positive ones. The kicker is, of course, the positive ones must be true and unsolicited because inauthentic comments are easy to spot. How do you get your employees to speak favourably and proudly about your company? Treat them well and supply them with useful, shareable content on a regular basis.
Staying Relevant/Competitive –Just like with marketing, it’s important to know what your competitors are offering talent that’s new and different. Someone in your company should be tasked with market research: keeping an ear to the ground to see how and where other companies find their best people, how they bring them in and what strategies they use to keep them happy. While it might not be feasible to replicate all that competitive companies do, it certainly helps to be informed. What can you offer current and future employees that another company can’t or won’t? Think total rewards, because we know people’s career decisions are rarely made based solely on money. Are there development opportunities or unique experiences your business offers that can’t be found with a competitor? Are you avidly promoting those benefits in your job postings and through other mediums? Are there clues to your leadership style and expectations reflected in each position? If not, you need to evolve your recruitment marketing because these are the things that will set you apart and spur candidates to make that initial inquiry about employment or mention your openings to a friend who’s looking to make a change.
Words and Actions that Reflect Your Culture – Your company culture takes shape based on how your people interact with one another internally (employee to employee) and how you connect with and communicate to your audience and clients. If you are known for being responsive and service-oriented this should be demonstrated by the way you handle the interview process and the messaging you use with applicants, regardless of whether they’re a fit or not. If you’re a company that encourages quick decision making and prioritizes action over deliberation, then your hiring timelines should demonstrate that. A candidate left hanging for weeks or months while you make a hiring decision will lose interest and possibly even feel disrespected. Now consider the repercussions if you end up bringing them onboard. How and when prospective employees hear from you or your HR team is a crucial piece of the onboarding puzzle. Look to someone with experience in communications or public relations to show you how to breathe life into your current process.
Evidence of Your Value Proposition – In the world of marketing, those who craft a brand message always want to ensure any promises being made can be delivered on with some certainty. For example, a company that actively promotes the underwater capabilities of their new camera goes through significant testing before they release the camera so that the marketing team can feel confident making the statement that the product is “100% waterproof” in their ads. There should be little difference when a job posting is being written. The recruiter or HR manager must have confidence in stating the differentiators of your organization and the position being filled, or the fall-out could be damaging and costly, especially if a new hire feels they were duped.
Brand Management – Listen to your people the way that you listen to your market. Find out what they think about new products or services to gain the complete connection between how you brand products and services and your employment brand. Create a forum or multiple opportunities for their perspectives to be shared. It’s likely you’ll hear some great ideas and build crucial cross-functional alliances at the same time.
When HR and Marketing operate as collaborative business partners, it benefits the organization in so many ways, internally and externally. Whether HR comes under one person’s responsibility or many, and whether Marketing is a dedicated or shared effort, the two functions can be an invaluable resource to the other – building and sustaining a strong organization that drives optimal brand recognition across all platforms and audiences.
If you’re challenged to attract the talent you need, it may be time to align your recruitment strategy with your company’s marketing function. We can help ensure consistency in messaging that will expand your reach to the right candidates. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Five Questions Your Career Page Should Answer