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When HR meets marketing

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HR can learn a lot from marketing’s tactics, and the two functions can’t afford to work in silos any longer, says Anthony J. James (AJ), global CMO at PageUp.

I imagine the first meeting between HR and Marketing went a little something like this:

HR, meet marketing.

Marketing, meet HR.

And then, the two turned their backs and walked away, content to ignore each other for the next several decades.

After all, marketing handles the relationship between the customers and the organisation. HR handles the relationship between the employees and the organisation. Never the twain shall meet – or so it seemed.

But then one day, everything changed. Suddenly, customers were recognised for being not only consumers of an organisation’s products, but also potential employees. And, employees were recognised as essential components of a business’s ability to deliver its products and its promises.

It turns out, HR and marketing have more in common than they thought. And it all boils down to a company’s brand.

The Brand Experience

At its core, an organisation’s brand is so much more than a logo on a product or a creative tagline. It is all about people’s experience with an organisation. This experience goes beyond how a customer interacts with the organisation through buying a product or service. It encompasses the employee experience as well.

There’s a lot being written these days about the “employer brand,” but suffice to say, the employer brand is a critical component of the organisation’s overall brand. While a company may work extremely hard to ensure that they consistently deliver on their brand promise for consumers, where many fall short is in delivering an employee experience that aligns with expectations.

The world’s best workplaces understand that satisfied and engaged employees produce and sell better products, provide superior customer service and ultimately generate better business results.

EVP as MVP

This is where HR can take their cue from marketing by developing an employment value proposition (EVP). The EVP, which closely aligns to the corporate brand image, should work to communicate employment features, benefits and values to potential employees much in the same way that the corporate brand image should communicate the features, benefits and values of the company to potential customers.

Nearly 80% of contributors to a study we conducted of multinational corporations in Southeast Asia identified their EVP as a critical factor in attracting talent.

HR must learn from marketing how to embrace change. Marketers historically are quick to jump on the latest and greatest ‘new thing’.

Technology as Matchmaker

Enter Technology, the matchmaker between marketing and HR.

The ubiquity of technology today means that we are in almost constant contact with the brands and organisations with which we feel a connection, whether that is because we like and buy their products or we appreciate their culture of social responsibility or we love the puppy and horse featured in their Super Bowl ad.

As I’ve written before, social media’s reach is creating deeper connections with consumers than ever before – and companies are capitalising on these connections by incorporating social media channels into their recruiting strategies.

Beyond talent acquisition, though, HR can learn from marketing’s tactics in other ways, including employee engagement and retention. One fundamental tenet of sales and marketing is “the customer is king.” In the case of HR, the “customer” is the employee. While the EVP attracts employees to an organisation, it is up to those within the organisation to ensure that the organisation’s culture and experience lives up to expectations.

Keep in mind that today’s employees’ expectations go beyond a regular paycheck and a solid benefits package – employees now expect the latest technology at their fingertips, corporate social responsibility initiatives, innovative on-demand learning and development programs, and more. Engaging in creative and inspiring initiatives that make the connection between employee goals and the organisational vision are of vital importance to a business’s success.

Finally, HR must learn from marketing how to embrace change. Marketers historically are quick to jump on the latest and greatest “new thing,” whether that’s social media, wearable technology or gaming. Gone are the days of HR taking years to implement an employee engagement initiative, then spending months to determine the initiative’s ROI, and adjusting the approach to develop another long-term program.

Now, HR must stay on top of the latest trends within its industry and adopt the new technologies that will position the company to transition quickly to remain competitive and meet the needs of an evolving market.

The bottom line is: Businesses who want to remain at the top of their game can’t afford for HR and marketing to work in silos. Collaboration is the name of the game – and technology is opening the door and inviting everyone to the party.

Image: Shutterstock

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