BFFs: Marketing and HR

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Giving a High Five in the SkyWith necklaces that say “Best Friends Forever,” your HR and marketing departments walk hand-in-hand when it comes to creating an employer brand. If they don’t, they most certainly should. This powerhouse couple is the driving force in creating that perfect company image.

Realize You Share Common Ground

The attitudes of the employees, hiring candidates, and company culture have a major role in developing a company brand. Fortune 500 companies like Xerox have combined HR and Marketing departments to develop their communication among employees and their branding. Creating a company brand is just as much an HR role as it is marketing. It isn’t just your VP of Marketing that has control over the company image. Michael Brenner, the VP of Global Marketing for SAP says “HR is becoming the marketer of the employee brand.”

Human Resources = Recruitment Department

“Your human resources (HR) department recruits and hires employees, so of course it affects marketing,” says Nick Crocodilos, writer for CMO. When recruiting for new talent, HR uses their marketing abilities to create a compelling job description. How would they ever get new talent to send in their résumés, much less walk in the door for an interview, if the description of the position falls flat? Answer: they wouldn’t acquire properly equipped talent for the job, nor would they keep good talent for long.

And while we’re on the subject, it won’t do you any good to advertise the position in the wrong place. Need a new marketing automation specialist? Putting a flyer on a telephone pole just won’t quite get you the talent you’re looking for. With 10,000 baby boomers entering retirement every day, it is crucial to place an enticing job description in the appropriate method to get the talent you want.  A good job description in the perfect place is a prime example of the effects of marketing in HR.

Remember Social Media Can Harm and Heal

Let’s change the pace a bit. You may be wondering how HR could possibly affect marketing. Well, it absolutely can and it does. When the HR department is going through a hiring process, it can go one of two ways when they choose not to hire a candidate. If the HR department takes the time to inform the candidates of the process and any new information after they submit their application, the candidate will leave with a positive experience regardless if they acquired the position or not. However, if HR does not keep them posted and fills the position without consideration of those they did not hire, it can leave a rather negative taste in the candidate’s mouth.  With 27 million pieces of social content being produced daily, keep an eye on what you do and don’t say on your company social pages. “[Forty-three percent] of organizations have lost a customer due to a negative experience on social media,” says Irfan Ahmad, founder of Reputation via word of mouth, or keyboard, goes a long way.

It is amazing what social media has done for the world of marketing. Company promotions, rebranding, development, and the like can be worldwide in less than a second… but so can negativity towards the company brand. Candidates who are not informed during the hiring process are more likely to post their negative experience to social media. What does that mean? The marketing department has to go do some damage control.

Even fostering a positive atmosphere with employees in the workplace increases the positive marketing toward the employer brand. When the employer brand is strong, so is the company brand. Who has a hand in this? The HR department.

Get your HR and marketing departments talking. They make a really well-oiled machine when they work together. HR and Marketing can be friends, but it starts with dropping the “departments” from the equation. After all, people make friends, not departments. So offer to buy that copywriter a cup of coffee for help with your job descriptions or schedule some time with that SVP of Market Research to find out where your target market and target candidate might overlap. They (and you) will be thrilled you did.

Have you tried reaching out to your VP of Marketing? What happened? Got results to share? Let us know in the comments.

Read more in Employer Branding

Sarah Duke is a Content Creator at Red Branch Media, a marketing and advertising firm that serves the Human Resources and Recruiting markets. Red Branch Media has grown from a simple consultancy to a full-service B2B marketing agency. Duke brings a history of Public Affairs experience to Red Branch and enjoys writing about the HCM Marketplace.
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