In an earlier post, I highlighted the need for departments to work together to make organizational change effective. No one would object to this. But the notion that there could be synergies when Marketing and HR work together seems counter intuitive.
Marketing involves identifying and meeting wants and needs of people. To do this, marketers need to be up on the latest trends, creative, adaptive and strategic. They’re seen as always having fun, standing in the spotlight and having the ear of senior executives. On the other hand, HR involves the development of strategies, policies and programmes to manage people and promote a healthy corporate culture. HR practitioners aren’t often seated at the senior executives’ table. The perception is that HR is always on the receiving end of instructions from upper management to hire, fire, manage performance and deliver those training programmes which are the first on the chopping block when budgets are cut. If you really believe this, you would say that HR and Marketing are polar opposites!
Before the objections start to pour in, let me point out that although their mandates are different, Marketing and HR Departments do share similar and very important roles – that is, getting people to do what is best for the company – whether they are clients, prospects, the general public or employees. More specifically, Marketing and HR departments
- are involved in incentivizing people,
- reinforce consistent messages,
- measure engagement,
- provide proof of a value proposition, and
- undertake activities that impact the delivery of the corporation’s strategy.
So, why is it important for both Marketing and HR to work together? The answer is simple. Employees are the key to business success.
Marketing develops and manages the business brand to create awareness of products and services, build on-going customer loyalty and contribute to business success. It’s the employees who represent the company and its products and services to customers and as such, they influence customer loyalty and business success. To ensure that employees understand what the business brand stands for and enthusiastically promote it, Marketing and HR must work together to ensure that employees are equipped to deliver the business brand promise to customers.
Some specific areas of Marketing and HR collaboration can be:
- Recruitment and on-boarding activities – should reinforce consistent messages and provide proof of the corporation’s value proposition to employees and clients
Meaningful connections between the values of the corporation and the values of target recruits ought to be consistently communicated in recruitment advertising and bring these values to life in on-boarding and on-going organizational development activities. Marketing should to be in a position to provide insights and research on the values of demographic groups the organization hopes to attract as potential employees and the reasons why they are likely to be a good fit. As well, Marketing should be able to provide HR with guidance to select the right media, position employee and recruitment messages, adopt the appropriate style of communication and select the call to action channels that are appropriate for the target audiences.
- Performance management, training, recognition and reward programmes – incentivize employees and impact the delivery of the corporate strategy
It is important for Marketing and HR to ensure agreement on the resources, skills and behaviours that support the delivery of the business brand and corporate strategy. Real inputs that Marketing can provide HR include customer research and feedback on specific areas of interaction such as service, communication, in-store experience, loyalty programmes etc. HR and Marketing can jointly identify what matters most to clients and determine the required skills and content of training programmes to support employees in the fulfilment of client needs in ways that reflect the business brand promise and achieve the corporate strategy objectives.
- Cross-referencing employee metrics and marketing metrics – measuring engagement of employees and customers/target customers
Both HR and Marketing use surveys to measure engagement albeit of different groups – employees, in the case of HR and customers /target customers in the case of Marketing. It has been proven that employee engagement directly impacts customer satisfaction and financial performance. High levels of employee engagement correspond to increases in customer engagement levels – even when there is no direct customer contact. More specifically, the quality of product development and the creation of the corporate reputation are the outcomes of employee engagement and ultimately influence customer satisfaction. By cross-referencing results of customer and employee engagement surveys, HR and Marketing can identify areas in the company and/or customer segments for improvement and potential solutions to address the challenges.
Make it happen!
Aligning the efforts of Marketing and HR in the areas cited above begins corporate senior leadership recognizing that business success is wholly dependent on their employees’ capacity to deliver on the company’s brand promise.
When identifying areas of cooperation, it is essential for Marketing and HR to look beyond departmental objectives and focus on aligning their roles and efforts in relation to corporate business strategies and objectives.
Once the areas of cooperation and alignment of roles have been identified, both departments need to create forums for collaboration and communication comprised of persons with the expertise required to do the work.
This blog was written for Your Workplace and published on 11 March, 2013.