The war for talent is intense in today’s post-pandemic world. HR leaders find themselves having to ‘market’ their organisation to potential new recruits, in the hope of attracting the best talent in a competitive marketplace.
It stands to reason then, that a partnership between the Human Resources and marketing departments could help in this quest. While it’s perhaps not an immediately obvious union, both HR and marketing do have several shared goals - to stand out from competitors, promote the company brand, deliver a compelling customer/employee experience, and drive organisational success.
“Marketing and HR should join forces because they share a common purpose - people,” remarks Ed Johnson, CEO of PushFar. “Both departments are focused on engaging, inspiring, and empowering individuals. By collaborating, we can create a powerful synergy that resonates with employees and enhances their overall workplace experience. HR can learn valuable lessons from marketing techniques - leveraging storytelling, emotional connection, and compelling communication strategies to promote continuous learning and growth.”
How can HR and marketing work together?
The most obvious initiatives that could bring HR and marketing together include developing a robust recruitment strategy, building a strong employer brand, improving internal communications, and enhancing company culture.
Marketing expert Tracy Heatley says that a great starting point is to align recruitment processes. “Many businesses are struggling to find top talent, but by showcasing HR policies and employee wellbeing through marketing, organisations can differentiate from the competition as an employer of choice.”
Shipra Choudhury, chief people officer at Coastr, says that by aligning their efforts, HR and marketing can create a cohesive brand image that attracts both top talent and customers.
“By improving internal communications, HR and marketing can gain a deeper understanding of employee needs and preferences, enabling them to design effective recruitment campaigns and employer branding initiatives,” she adds. “Marketing brings its expertise in storytelling, design, and audience engagement, while HR offers the authentic voice of the company culture and values. Combining these perspectives ensures that the employer brand resonates with potential candidates and aligns with the company's true identity.”
Ed Johnson agrees, adding that by combining their strengths, HR and marketing can develop integrated communication strategies that convey a unified message across all touchpoints. “Therefore, by leveraging marketing's creativity and HR's deep understanding of employees' needs, desires, and aspirations, we can foster a sense of belonging, inspire loyalty, and build a powerful employer brand that attracts and retains top talent.”
Another effective way of communicating a successful employer brand, both internally and externally, is by creating a strong social media presence. Both teams can post content on social media platforms about the company to promote the brand and culture, as well as communicate with both customers and potential employees.
According to Sophie Nutley, head of recruitment at ProtectLine, the perfect symbiosis of marketing and HR is the creation, implementation, and promotion of company culture.
“The way in which companies operate internally is almost as important to potential customers as the way it deals with their clients,” she remarks. “Having a strong ethical and people-based culture that ensures that your employees are happy and satisfied in their professional lives and careers is a boon for any business, but promoting that culture to the world and making sure that it stays on brand, that’s a whole different ball game.”
What should HR and marketing know before collaborating?
There are, of course, some key points to consider before embarking on this journey together, to ensure the partnership is successful.
“Both HR and marketing must prioritise open and transparent communication,” advises Ed Johnson. “Active listening and mutual understanding of each other's goals, challenges, and constraints are crucial. It's essential to foster an environment where collaboration and feedback are valued, ensuring that both departments share a common vision and are aligned with the organisation's overarching objectives.”
To establish a strong working relationship, both teams must understand each other’s roles and responsibilities, adds Sophie Bryan, founder and chief workplace culture consultant at Ordinarily Different. “Each department should have an idea of what the other team does, how they do it, and why it's important for organisational success. By having this mutual understanding, both teams can better support each other's goals and work together to create a unified strategy that can benefit the entire organisation.”
HR and marketing must also be able to grasp the minutia of the culture they are striving to implement and promote, to help communicate what the company is like to work for, and how its internal culture mirrors its brand image, comments Sophie Nutley. “This is important because it imbues a level of trust in the mainstream zeitgeist and demonstrates that a company’s core mission and image is something that they truly believe in, and when they say they care about their customers and putting them and their families first, they really mean it.”
How can technology help make the collaboration more effective?
Another way for HR and marketing to form a successful partnership is by taking full advantage of technology. A single digital platform such as Salesforce provides an integrated ecosystem, which can revolutionise collaboration between both departments, enabling them to streamline processes, as well as connect data from each team to track performance or identify trends.
“With Salesforce or a similar digital platform, HR and marketing can easily share data, analyse trends, and refine their strategies in real-time, leading to more effective results,” says Shipra Choudhury. “Platforms like Salesforce can empower them to access relevant data, campaign analytics, and employee and customer feedback. This data-driven approach can help them to make informed decisions, optimise strategies, and create a consistent brand narrative that resonates with all stakeholders."
A single system enhances the agility of both departments by automating workflows and enabling a quick response to changes in the market, adds Helen Armstrong, CEO and founder of Silver Cloud HR. “A single digital platform centralises data and provides collaboration tools that break down silos, making it easier to access data and ensuring accuracy. By using the reporting and analytics tools, both HR and marketing can track their progress and make better decisions.”
Implementing an effective and progressive CRM system is essential, comments Tracy Heatley. “Not only does it streamline operations and workflows, but it also fosters unity and collaboration within the organisation. By utilising a digital platform, we can clearly see how one department's actions impact others.”
Ed Johnson believes that adopting a seamless experience with multiple best-in-market platforms empowers both departments. “This approach allows HR and marketing to leverage specialised tools that excel in their respective domains, enabling effective collaboration while optimising individual workflows. By way of harnessing the power of technology, we can streamline processes, enhance productivity, and foster a truly connected and agile partnership.”
To find out how XCD can provide a seamless integrated experience that can support collaboration in your organisation, or to request a demo, please click here.