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Marketing and HR, the future is greater collaboration

15 Feb 18:00 by Mark Gouland

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  • There are many projects that require collaboration between Marketing and HR and these include: employer brand, brand values, internal communications and employee engagement

  • The more progressive companies are encouraging this cross-collaboration to build strong competitive advantages through their people

  • A strong Employer Brand is important particularly within sectors with skill shortages

 

HR and marketing teams are collaborating more closely in today’s digital age to define company culture and project a consistent brand image through their people, all the way from the recruitment process to interacting with consumers, both internal and external.

 

Close collaboration is becoming more commonplace, with some companies even merging the two departments together, under one director or 'head of'.

 

However, most companies will keep these departments separate, instead looking for more collaboration between the two, as people really do become a company’s only differentiator and main asset for the delivery of the brand promise. 

 

Continued collaboration

Successful companies have always had close collaboration across different disciplines and departments and marketing and HR teams are traditionally two that have often worked closely together.

 

There are so many elements of business operations where the two departments have worked on projects and continue to work together: the development of the employer brand, brand values, internal communications and employee engagement & feedback.

 

Many organisations now realise that consistency has always been about people, and the service that employees deliver to customers must be maintained consistently across every customer touch-point.

 

The theory of marketing has always included people in its strategic thinking (the 7P’s which includes people). Now forward-thinking teams are working together to drive agility and customer centricity, where employees and customers are the people. 

 

The importance of collaboration on employer brand

A brand is only as good as its employer brand and the talent attraction strategies used to get the right people into companies in the first place. These elements are even more important now, in the age of increasing talent shortages.

 

Many companies are now employing marketers within their HR department, in a bid to use their customer-centric and digital skills to segment, target and position the company (and its employer brand) in the talent market, in the same way they may have done for any product or service. These new employer brand roles are about managing the external stories to position companies as ‘Employers of Choice’, using the success stories of employees to tell the story of what it’s like to work there and what potential employees could expect.

 

On many company websites, there is little information on the employer brand, as the website is usually owned by marketing with the main aim of capturing more customers for the company. But in many companies a good candidate (future employee) can be just as important as finding a new customer, so marketing must work with HR on developing the right type of employer brand content and promoting that content in the right way on their company website.

 

Brand values: more than words

Marketing teams might in the past have settled on some brand values and pushed them out on their website externally, then maybe pushed out some internal communications around the launch.

In the digital age, the age of customer research, there must be a consistency in what companies are saying and what their values are, again maintaining that consistency across every customer touchpoint.

 

Successful companies will merge the external promise of what brand values are, what a company stands for and the ‘rules’ by which they deliver their product or service with the internal practice, management and measurement of those values for and by their employees.

 

HR must be able to work closely with marketing to develop the values and the critical practices of managing them internally, by rewarding employees that ‘live the values’ and holding to account employees that do not comply.

 

Internal communications

In today’s connected digital age employee engagement and communication is key to building strong teams that are at the centre of strong brands. In an age when people are used to constant and easily accessible communication in their daily lives, employees are now expecting the same for their internal company communications.

 

The days of a monthly newsletter and an annual performance presentation are over as employees expect more frequent and deeper items of information from their employers. The internal communication model has now changed to peer-to-peer communication and knowledge sharing, and HR and marketing teams must work together to put in place the right type of structures and technology that permit this.

 

As with the collaboration needed for building the external employer brand, the same must be said for the internal employer brand. HR must encourage knowledge and information sharing across departments, through formal means, like meetings, and put in place robust communication strategies built around internal stories, thought leaders and internal brand ambassadors, working with the marketing department to build these stories and enable their internal distribution.

 

Employee engagement/feedback

The Holy Grail for an employer brand is having employees amplify the positive employer brand messages, talking their own positive experiences and sharing with their own networks.

 

HR and marketing need to work together to give employees the relevant training and tools that will allow them to create the best and most engaging stories around the company culture. These discussions need to centre on putting rules in place (from HR) that have the flexibility for the employees to create their own content (marketing).

 

The rollout of the annual staff survey, between marketing and HR, is now changing as companies try and seek constant feedback from employees. The staff survey still has a place to benchmark both against previous years and also the competition (for staff, current and potential new) but companies must now look at technology to help them capture constant and more frequent feedback, through things such as polls, colleague feedback, and mini-surveys all run through the company intranet. 

 

Conclusion

From bringing marketers into the employer brand space to uncovering and retaining the best new talent, close collaboration between marketers and HR teams is likely to be a feature of future marketing and HR teams for years to come.

 

Success will come from a collaborative approach to talent engagement: an integrated HR-Marketing strategy that merges marketing’s brand messaging savvy with HR’s internal perspective and expertise.

 

Closer collaboration between marketing and HR is helping define brand identity and create a customer-centric company culture, and the start of that is working together totally to build great businesses that future great employees will flock to, and current great employees want to stay at.

 

The impact on talent strategies

At MacGregor Black our clients are asking us, across all our disciplines, for candidates that have the ability to deal positively with change and who can work and encourage others to work in an open and collaborative way across their businesses.  

 

From our own service proposition, we have employer brand experts at MacGregor Black, who will help you build your employer brand and build campaigns that will enable you to attract the best candidates with innovative digital strategies.

 

If you’re a candidate you need to talk to recruitment professionals that understand the culture and what an employer stands for. You can only really get that from recruitment companies that have long-standing relationships with clients, so don’t settle for second best. Settle for MacGregor Black.Our network is your network.