Gone are the days when HR was overlooked as an old-fashioned, unexciting department. As the world of work is rapidly shifting into being people-centric, HR is on the way to its glory days.
It is now a popular notion to think of HR as a business line inside a company. They service clients, manage a budget, and control human capital that directly contributes to business performance. Since every business has a certain room for marketing to step in and drive greater growth, HR is not an exception.
HR and marketing – Are they even related?
The answer is yes. Here are the reasons:
Both need to attract customers. Besides service employees to maintain engagement and retainment, another duty of HR is to find new talents, which is in common with marketing.
They have the same grand strategy. For marketing, it is: Building awareness -> Customer acquisition -> Customer relation. In HR’s language, that process translates to: Building employer branding -> Talent acquisition -> Employee management.
They must compete against their peers. Not just sales and marketing, HR must also compete with other companies in the war for talents.
For these reasons, it’s time HR leaders should think about adopting marketing approaches to improve competitiveness in the labor market as well as build a greater relationship with their employees.
How to leverage marketing in your HR strategy
1. Have a target audience
Marketers always seek to understand their audience first before putting up any plan. And HR professionals can do the same.
Have you ever felt helpless in finding the right talent? There are many applications, but none of them seems fit? Maybe you are fishing in the wrong pond. Try drawing a typical candidate persona that is a great match for your company’s goals and culture. What are their age, skillset, pain points, and motivations? Then build an employer brand that targets such audience by delivering messages that touch their interests.
Internal communication requires a deep understanding of the audience, too. There are different groups of people in a company with distinct behaviors and motivations. That’s why HR messages and programs should be crafted intentionally and specifically for each group to maximize efficiency. Why is the engagement rate of an internal communication program low? Possible because it is too general to touch the employees.
2. Keep your brand consistent
Just like marketing, HR services a wide range of people on many platforms. Though each target group has its own touchpoints, the core messages need to stay consistent. Imagine if somebody tells you they are professional but end up wearing shorts and tank top to meetings, would you trust them? This is called “weak brand identity” in marketing.
The same principle applies to HR campaigns. No matter what you do, where you do it, always keep the same identity, voice, and core messages.
3. Plan a customer journey
Before their applications reach your inbox, talents must have gone through the job post somewhere, then decided to send you an email, or apply through your website. Each step is a touchpoint in their customer journey, and how they feel about it plays a crucial role in their satisfaction with your company. As a candidate, do you feel tired filling an endless application form on a website, or have trouble navigating to a matching vacancy? To make each touchpoint more efficient and beneficial to customers is referred to as “enhancing customer experience” in marketing.
HR leaders should consider this aspect in their strategy, too. Think about how to make the application process simpler and easier to manage. Or how to ensure a smooth and satisfying onboarding/offboarding process for employees, etc.
4. Measure the outcomes
Setting up objectives and tracking progress is a must in every department. Numbers always speak the truth. HR professionals can apply data-driven approaches in measuring performance, engagement, and retainment by utilizing HRM software, conducting employee surveys, or even partnering with marketing to obtain related data.
5. The talent war is harsh, compete for it
The competition for the best talents is getting more intense since companies now understand the importance of their employer brand. Where are you on the market? What are your advantages, weaknesses, and how can you compete? These marketing questions sound so familiar in the HR world nowadays.
A final thought
Marketing is the new HR. And interestingly, HR is also the new marketing. As the world is becoming more people-centric, employee is now a potential marketing channel. It’s time for leaders from both functions to sit together and see how collaboration could drive growth and efficiency to the business.