Your Next Great HR Hire? A Marketing Pro.

Dawn Burke Audacious Ideas, Dawn Burke, Good HR, HR, HR & Marketing, Recruiting, Recruitment Marketing

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Shifting work landscapes has demanded HR shops, including the recruiting function, change their value prop from policy police to talent acquisition, engagement and retention specialists. What can you do to innovate your HR team? Add a marketing partner.

Just like peanut butter and banana, mayo on grilled cheese, or bacon on donuts, sometimes strange couplings taste damn good. The same can be said for HR and Marketing.

Let me explain a different way:

The Year: 1993.

Place: College.

The Players: Me and my friend the English/Film/History major (can’t remember).

My pal said, “You gotta try this new thing. It’s a chat room. You can talk to anyone.”

“Whut? Anyone?”

“Yes, anyone?  And, get this, you can be anyone you want to be.”

And there it is, gang. The time where everything shifted. Overnight my personal circle of influence, reach, and persona (if I chose, which I did not) changed overnight. Add in the Internet a few years later, and viola, the transparency revolution had begun.

And boy did it rock organizations 1000 times harder. Why? Control shifted from the hands of a few executives to every employee in the world. Every employee would soon have a bully pulpit with a loud megaphone. The Emperor suddenly had no clothes. To gain and retain talent, companies had to give up command-and-control.  Hence, the engagement revolution began.

What’s a company to do to ensure engagement? Well, who within organization is best positioned to understand corporate engagement? HR and Marketing.

HR and Marketing: Adversity makes strange bedfellows.

There are a few “adversities” HR teams struggle with in modern workforces that inhibit engagement.

  • Targeting the right candidates for your workplace (passive recruiting)
  • Keeping employees engaged through consistent, cadenced, focused messaging and feedback programs
  • Approachability: some HR folks are still hanging on to policy creation (it’s tough to build trust if your head is stuck in the handbook)
  • Bandwidth: even HR teams who get the engagement don’t have enough resources to support

Here is how Marketing can help:

Targeting candidates. Yes, the Internet has provided you a crap ton of candidates. But only 3% of them are any good. Your marketing team, the experts in targeting segments of customers, can help you target the proper talent “segments.” Marketing should be SMEs in social media, SEO, and branding techniques that are easily transferable to your talent acquisition needs. HR, you have no excuse anymore to ignore the importance of branding and targeting.  Remember, all of your modern tech platforms support these efforts as well.

Also (and this is a big one), if your website is bad, in particular your careers page, shame on you. Just as eyes are the windows to the soul, your career portal is the window to your corporate culture. If your website doesn’t look like this (Jobvite), or this (Red Branch Media), or this (The Muse), or this (Daxko) you need help from marketing.

Keeping Employees Engaged/Approachability. These go hand-in-hand.  To keep employees engaged, they need to understand what is going on (transparency), be clear about expectations (What the heck is the company focused on? Can we win?) and feel part of a community. Gang, this is all about focused communication. Marketing will not replace the heart of HR. HR should be the connectors of all employees. But if you struggle in this area, need help word-smithing your authentic thoughts, need to craft a survey, or don’t understand social media (the biggest tool in your arsenal to get to know folks) marketing can help.

Bandwidth. You can’t do it all. Period. Unfortunately all of the items above get pushed to the back-burner if don’t have time. You cannot afford to put engagement on the back-burner any more. Until you are able to find ways to outsource your “policy” work, “insource” your internal marketing department to help.

There you have it. No excuses. Whether you engage a marketing intern, your marketing department or a recruiter who just gets branding, an HR/Marketing partnership can be the best thing since Elvis married peanut butter and bananas.

This post is sponsored by the recruiting pros at Jobvite, who, each month, let FOT write about a topic that will help recruiters raise their games via continuing education. Be on the lookout later this month for the new FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—also brought to you by