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HR vs marketing: Corporate and employer messaging is out of alignment

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15th Jun 2016
Managing editor MyCustomer.com
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New research has highlighted the urgent need for greater collaboration between marketing and human resources (HR), to align corporate and employer messaging.

A study by creative agency Omobono, in partnership with Winmark Global, reveals that HR departments are ramping up their digital influence and are now frequently the second most powerful voice in the company.

The 2016 What Works Where report polled 100 business professionals and found that HR has overtaken both sales and customer service in their use of digital channels, with 58% of respondents naming HR as a primary user of digital technologies, second only to marketing (at 96%) and in front of customer service/key account management (51%) and sales (44%). 

HR has increased investment in digital significantly recently, with 46% of HR respondents saying they have developed a digital component in the past four years. And as a result, 75% of respondents said they believe that HR’s digital practices now contribute to the overall brand profile.

This demands that HR and marketing collaborate to ensure consistent communications – and businesses acknowledge the importance of this cooperation.

These benefits of an integrated approach to communications include consistent messaging (acknowledged by 87% of respondents), more efficient comms (82%), a stronger brand (82%) and a better customer experience (45%).

However, despite this, few brands report collaboration between marketing and HR. Respondents reported that their corporate and employer branding lacks integration, with time and willingness to collaborate in the top six barriers to success, alongside departmental differences, lack of understanding about digital, lack of support for the leadership team and confusion over ownership.

Another major obstacles exists because both departments have conflicting KPIs that are not structured to achieve collaboration – the departments have ROI measures that tend to be focused on specific business outputs e.g. leads for marketing and candidates and cost per hire for HR. To add to this, only 30% are measured on collaboration with other departments and only 7% are measured on whether the brand is consistent across the corporate and employee brands. 

Of more concern is the suggestion that there is frequent friction between the two factions – with marketing’s view of its own performance completely out of sync with the view from HR’s side of the fence.

For instance, while two-thirds of marketers think they get the company’s values, half of HR disagree. Elsewhere, nine out of ten marketers think they know their audience – but a third of HR disagree. And although two-thirds of marketers think they build customer relationships, half of HR disagree.

While the two departments clearly need to improve collaboration, the signs are that they could be on collision course.

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By LinkedIn Group Member
16th Jun 2016 08:44

Comment on the LinkedIn MyCustomer group, from member Mark McArthur-Christie:

HR - particularly recruitment - is wide open for an app. All you'd need is a random word generator and a field where you could drop in your company name and the job you're advertising and the app would do the rest. As long as it used 'fast-paced', 'multi-task', 'influencer', 'drive business objectives' and 'team player' you'd never need to write another job ad.

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