HR and marketing can link up to good effect

Harvard Business Review picked up on the recent trend of Marketing and HR collaborations. Picture: Paul Parke

Harvard Business Review picked up on the recent trend of Marketing and HR collaborations. Picture: Paul Parke

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The Employer Brand of the Year award will recognise HR and marketing can link up to good effect, says Graeme Atha

Marketing and HR professionals are beginning to realise they share common ground in the development of strong employer brands. Previously both professions shared similar frustrations with their respective disciplines not always being taken seriously in the boardroom.

It is now understood that the attraction, development and retention of the best talent is central to business success. For organisations to achieve this, they need to develop an effective marketing strategy and develop strong employer brand. The Marketing Society has been working with the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and senior HR professionals to develop a new award that will recognise the Employer Brand of the Year.

This joint Marketing/HR working party has identified four key areas to be evaluated.

Planning and Analysis: Has effective recruitment and development of talent been central to organisational success with HR working closely with Marketing to develop key measurements for continuous improvement?

Recruitment Process: Has effective hiring been balanced with internal promotion with professional processes and communication with candidates from interview to induction?

The Marketing Society Star Awards

Talent Attraction: Has there been the development of a strong employer brand with an effective recruitment communication strategy on and off line? Retention and Development: Has there been demonstration of improved performance, recognising and rewarding success and building engagement and involvement in developing the culture of the organisation?

This award will form a new category within The Marketing Society Star Awards. The gala dinner in May is the biggest and most important event of the year for marketing staff.

It is hoped this new award will see many HR colleagues also involved. After the launch this month, there is a February 2014 deadline for entries

Fiona Gibson, Group HR Director, Highland Spring Group, one of the award working party, observes: “All organisations need to optimise their workforce and talent management is therefore of strategic importance. Whilst managers are accountable for delivering business results they are not always held accountable for developing talent. To enable talent investment to be linked to business results, it must be a shared HR and business responsibility, encouraging collaboration and engagement.”

Marketing and HR collaborations

Veronika Gunn-Boesch, Organisational Development Manager for The Edrington Group and also on the working party, said: “Effective communication during the entire recruitment process is crucial to an organisation’s ability to attract and retain talent. A positive candidate experience from start to finish is essential when establishing a successful employer brand and once a candidate is hired, a structured induction process is often key to long-term success and retention.” John Denholm, Managing Director of the specialist marketing recruitment firm, Denholm Consultancy, the award sponsor, comments: “Nowadays, companies need to use modern marketing methods to attract another elusive group – potential employees. Good candidates are increasingly scarce as the economy improves. It’s no longer a buyer’s market. So firms must use sophisticated techniques, in traditional and social media, to showcase themselves as top employers. Marketing and HR functions will need to work together, and the easy connections within a small market such as Scotland help us compete in a global talent market.”

A recent article from the Harvard Business Review picked up on the recent trend of Marketing and HR collaborations and highlighted a couple of good case studies.

When Xerox re-branded as a document solutions leader, its joint HR and Marketing team used videos, events and facility branding to demonstrate demonstrated what this should mean to employees and developed interest and support for the new brand promise.

Following the financial crisis, Lincoln Financial Group created a HR–Marketing partnership to foster deeper engagement with its 8,500 employees and 1,200 independent financial advisors. In both examples, the HR and Marketing collaboration had initial difficulties – but led to impressive resultss. The pain was worth the gain and in the end it was a win-win result.

• Graeme Atha is Director, The Marketing Society. For further details, see www.marketingsocietyscotland.com/stars2014 from the end of October

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