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There’s a new workforce in town and it’s reshaping the way businesses operate—both big and small.
Brand identity has become vastly important in business strategy over the years, and we see this play out in the most successful companies today.
Logos, colors, graphic style—these are all a part of how a business “brands” itself on the minds of its consumers.
But with this new wave of millennial talent entering into the workforce, consumers aren’t the only ones businesses need to be drawing in, if they want to grow their brand and extend their product reach.
This has created an interesting corporate dynamic, where there is a strong need for cooperation between the HR and marketing departments.
The businesses that have trained their HR and marketing teams to collaborate together have seen incredible success, not only in the marketplace, but also in acquiring and retaining top talent—the kind that can carry them to the forefront of innovation and secure their future for years to come.
As with any great partnership, however, there are huge obstacles in the way of cooperation. We’ve taken a look at some of the major challenges that stand in the way of HR and Marketing cooperation, and suggest some ways to overcome them.
CHALLENGE #1 | Communication
Communication is where teamwork thrives or dies. It is the single most important element of any partnership in existence, especially in the business world.
It almost seems counter-intuitive at first to team these two departments up, because they focus efforts in very different places.
HR communicates internally, while Marketing is focused on external communications. They both answer to leadership, yet there is no direct line between them. This culture has to change in order for real cohesion to take place.
Traditionally, HR communicates face-to-face, over the phone, and by email. They send a lot of mass emails that are staff-wide and are often overlooked (or “never” ignored if the boss is standing nearby).
The problem with these channels is that they’re difficult to coordinate and are, therefore, limited and make for a very delayed response time.
Marketing is generally focused on communicating externally with consumers (and fighting against the restraints of HR on their latest viral marketing effort). Their typical channels of communication are social media, email marketing, video, advertisements, and blogging.
The tendency for marketing is to overemphasize external communications, because success is measured by product sales, brand exposure, progress, etc. Phone, email, and face-to-face communications to HR are often neglected outside of compliance checks.
In order for effective cooperation, there needs to be an open channel of communication available that is both personal and capable of real-time response.
We have one of the most effective channels of interdepartmental communication available to us already, but no one wants all of their co-workers and bosses to have their personal cell numbers.
Enter the world of SMS (short message service). Text messaging is not the only method for sending short, real-time messages. There are many other automated communications platforms that can be incredibly useful in the corporate setting.
Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Telegram, Viber, Google Hangouts, etc.—these are just a few of the SMS platforms out there that business are starting to utilize.
These tools can keep departments like HR and Marketing on a real-time communication level without having to email to schedule a meeting a week down the road or call in hopes that the other is by their office phone.
CHALLENGE #2 | Establishing Consistency
Here’s a classic situation: Marketing is trying to create a brand message that will draw consumers to their products. Their job is to attract buyers, increase sales, and increase company repute across the industry.
HR is trying to create a company ethos that best reflects how they think employees should interact with one another and relate to their jobs. It’s about keeping everything positive, orderly, and legal.
When the two messages are contradictory, the wrong talent is hired and becomes a problem for the company or the right talent gets frustrated and moves on.
Ideally, business strategy would be understood all the way from the CEO down to the janitorial staff. But at the very least, it is particularly important for HR and marketing to be on the same page as far as where the company is headed. Two departments, one company vision.
It affects all parties, for better or worse. Potential employees need to know what they will be working towards in order to know if the job is right for them. HR needs to know what kind of talent will carry the company where it needs to go. And marketing will be the ones trying to carry it there.
A lot of time, money, and talent can be effectively used or wasted to great effect based on the departmental consistency of a company’s brand message.
CHALLENGE #3 | The Evolution of the HR Department
Historically, HR reps have always been seen as the “company cops”—the ones who know the laws that govern the business. They ensure that their company is following the law and avoiding law-suits.
They need to be up-to-date on policies and procedures, and most of their day-to-day has consisted of handling and submitting paperwork, or meeting with disgruntled and frustrated employees.
As the new workforce filters in, HR has been forced to take a more direct role in the hiring process. Rather than just passing along applications, drawing up the paperwork for new hires, and waiting for departments to choose employees, HR is often responsible for recruiting top talent.
This involves more marketing than paperwork, which is perhaps the most important reason collaboration between HR and marketing can be so fruitful.
To accommodate the ever-evolving nature of human resources, there are specialized positions that have been created specifically to answer these new needs.
An Internal Communications Specialist deals specifically with company-wide communications. Talent Acquisition Specialists focus primarily on marketing to the new workforce and recruiting the best talent.
If a company is lacking in the area of internal consistency and/or the acquisition of top talent, these are two positions that could really turn things around. And they are the specialists that you want working directly with the marketing department.
Like everything else today, job-hunting has moved into the digital arena and, therefore, businesses have to learn to market to their employees just as much as their consumers.
Collaboration between HR and marketing departments brings a remarkable rise in talent acquisition and retention—two keys that are highly important for stable business growth.
The primary challenges that these departments face are “brand message” inconsistency, inefficient communication, and the inability of the HR departments to perform their new role with the current workforce available to them.
By spreading a company-wide understanding of “brand message,” both current and future employees can be on the same page as far as business strategy, and the company can grow faster towards its goals without stifling the work of some of their departments or employees.
Exploring more efficient methods of internal communication, like real-time SMS systems, can eliminate much of the bottlenecks created by the lag-time and unavailability.
Companies looking to attract and retain top talent in their industry could really benefit from adding an internal communications specialist and a talent acquisition specialist to their HR team.
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