The crossroads of Marketing and HR: Why this partnership will work for your organization?
What’s your recruitment goal?
Before we hop onto the article, I’d like you to grab a pen and paper or your digital note-taking app and write this down.
Your answer can be a couple of points (but keep it broad and powerful).
The HR journey works in a circular loop starting from recruitment, onboarding, training, performance management, engagement, promotion, farewell, and recruitment again. Without clear goals, it is hard to consistently hire and retain the best talents.
HR is not a one-person job. It is a cross-functional role that needs working along with the entire length and breadth of the organization. At every stage of recruitment, training, and performance management, HR and marketing cannot stay exclusive of one another.
The common question is who owns employer branding?
The Netflix Anecdote
A viral document that calls out the work culture of Netflix has more than 5 million views on the Internet.
This document is path-breaking and is the pioneer of the “take a vacation when you need” culture that we see in startups today. The long story short version of an HBR interview with Netflix’s best engineers is this:
- Hire only “A” players and not just adequate talent. The leaders preferred working by themselves rather than fixing the subordinates’ mistakes all the time
- A clear track record, likability, and work ethic would any day trump inadequacy of skills
In addition to creating a casual and cool work culture, Netflix is particularly concerned about the quality of people they hire and retain.
The Convergence Theory of HR and Marketing: The former meets the latter
As already mentioned, HR is a cross-functional role.
But, do you know where this collaboration raises to a new high?
Not just Netflix, but a lot of companies sincerely embrace the concept of ensuring that Marketers and HR folks are in tandem to elevate employer branding to a whole new level.
A key component of attracting A-players to your company is through strong employer branding.
Potential job seekers who might be an ideal fit for your organization may be interested in a couple of other opportunities as well.
What sets you apart from the others is how well you convey to the potential candidates about your work culture, the perks of being associated with your organization, and making it irresistible for them to join your organization.
The ultimate goal of HR is to hire the best talent for the company and for marketers is to serve the customers better. In a lot of ways, Marketing has a role to play at every touchpoint of a potential candidate’s journey as well ( will be discussed further in the following sections).
What’s at the Cynosure? The latter meets the former
- Weave branding into HR communications
- Keep your voice consistent across platforms
- Create content assets that promote work culture
- Leverage marketing channels for promotion
- Build employee advocacy by adhering to norms
5 Actionable tips to elevate employer branding and to improve the recruitment process Assess the different touchpoints and take action
Think of a typical candidate’s research journey into identifying and evaluating your company. The search engines and the social media handles are the prime sources where a candidate can gauge insights and make a decision.
More often than not, corporate social media handles create content that screams “buy my product”. Companies are taking the social out of social media and bombarding their feed with unilateral content. For a candidate who lands on your Instagram feed, the excitement to join your company happens only if you blend in real people in it.
Instead of reserving your social media handles for product promotions, make it more human with a sneak-peek into your workspace, a meeting room discussion, the CEO interacting with employees, and a lot more.
You can also own a separate social media handle for “culture” like how many companies are doing today.
How can you improve employer branding?
- Work with marketing on creating content as they own the social presence of a brand
- Exchange ideas with marketing and roll-out strategies in the best interest of the brand
- Promote employer branding with images and videos created 4. using tools like Canva and a video maker like Animaker
- Maintain brand voice while responding to job opportunity queries through social media
Create a win-win by encouraging employee advocacy
Employee advocacy is a marketing strategy where the employees of the company help in amplifying the reach of marketing efforts in social or through other channels.
According to a study by Cisco, employee posts can generate 8X more engagement than when that same content is shared through a brand handle.
Dell is one of the pioneers of implementing the employee advocacy strategy into their marketing plan. Another company that has excelled in this is Starbucks. They call their employees “partners”. Their guidelines encourage them to be authentic, cautious, and passionate.
Employee advocacy is not just confined to being an endorser of the product or services. But, also positively impacting the culture through genuinely spreading the word about the satisfaction of working for a company. Employee advocacy should be leveraged by HR to amplify the employer branding, to spread the word about company culture, and help potential candidates know what it is like to work for your company.
How to implement employee advocacy?
- Understand the employee advocacy policies
- Measure how the strategy is impacting your recruitment goals
- Create content by consulting marketing so that it works well across different social media channels
Assess and review your goals
In plain terms, Marketing wants to serve customers and HR wants employees who can get them to do that.
A company’s goals are closely aligned with the employees as they can be achieved through them. HR and marketing can work in a cadence so that they do not let go of the best talent. As a matter of fact, according to Smashfly, 48% of companies with an email capture never send emails to the people who signed up.
Passive employees are those who are interested in your company but did not have an opportunity for a role they’re looking for at the moment or vice-versa. Instead of scratching your heads to find the right candidate for a role, HR folks must aim for the low-hanging fruit with a newsletter. This can typically cover company events, updates, job openings, milestones, employee stories, and more.
Why do you need to work with Marketing?
- Utilize their expertise in the stream of content creation and designing
- Target the right people with data at the disposal of the marketing team
- Measure the metrics of the newsletter performance and tweak strategies
Leverage marketing channels to your advantage
Just like how in marketing a typical buyer’s journey is fragmented across different channels and touchpoints, so is the case with an employee too.
A potential job seeker will check your corporate website, social media handles, review sites like Glassdoor, and a lot more. Marketers leverage organic and paid strategies to reach the target. Similarly, HR can also work towards optimizing their presence and distribute it across different channels.
How can you utilize marketing channels to improve the recruitment process?
- Making careers page more casual and realistic with images of real people and the workstations
- A paid component can also be a part of HR strategies and they can collaborate with marketing to understand the different channels
- Creation of culture videos to be promoted on social channels, embedded on websites, and added in email signatures. 4. Marketing can help with conceptualizing and scripting
- Elevating the portal UIs with a good design that aligns with the brand
Partner with influencers to amplify the reach
Influencer outreach is the best way to reach a huge audience and quickly hack growth. This has always been working for marketers. But, how does this help in recruitment? The answer is simple. Influencers who create content in your niche have a huge follower base who believe in their thoughts and ideologies.
Working with them in getting a word out about the culture of your company or any openings would help you identify the right candidate. Influencers make content interesting and authentic by drawing out insights from their personal experiences. If you are hiring at a scale or looking to elevate employer branding, this is a good strategy to experiment with.
How can marketing help you with influencer outreach?
- Brainstorm and adopt the right approach
- Promote the content effectively across channels
- Measure the success of the campaign
Over to you
Do you have the goals I asked you to jot down beside you?
If your goals do not have to work along with the marketing team in it, it’s time you add them. Not just during recruitment, but also at the time of onboarding and training marketing can help HR streamline the process of content creation and presentations. While this is only true for spearheading the process on a tactical level, HR folks need not completely depend on marketing end-to-end.
If you have another area where these two teams could possibly collide, do let us know in the comments.