Why Marketing and HR need to work together on the employer branding strategy

The danger of silos between marketing and hr

There are many benefits to be gained from collaboration between Human Resources and Marketing leaders including more effective execution, higher productivity and innovation.  Yet the majority of us continue to work predominantly in silos.  But the world of work has changed.  Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and the founder of the Hot Spots Movement, wrote a blog on “Five Changes Future Leaders Must Face” and one of the changes was the need for all leaders to work more collaboratively.  We couldn’t agree more.  With talent as the top concern amongst CEOs, employer branding is fast becoming a  critical strategy to address current and future talent shortages.  With less than 20% of organizations having an employer branding strategy and only 30% of companies with teams of two or more departments responsible for managing the employer brand, we see a huge opportunity for Marketing and HR leaders to collaborate on this critical issue.

What we can learn from each other

It is surprising that HR and Marketing don’t collaborate more often as they have a lot in common.  Both areas are focused on influencing and motivating people.  To do this, both disciplines need a good understanding of people and psychology.  Despite our commonalities, there are additional skills and capabilities that we can learn from each other.  We know well, that the ultimate impact is to the business.

 What hr can learn from marketing

  1. Talent segmentation.  Customer segmentation is a common practice amongst Marketing professionals and while HR does segment candidates and employees, we feel that there is an opportunity for HR to do a better job with this.  For example, developing targeted Employee Value Propositions for candidate or employee segments and tailoring the message to the audience is a critical employer branding strategy.  How often do you visit a career website and see the same messaging despite the fact that they are recruiting for such diverse roles with different needs?
  2.  Embracing technology to engage with employees and prospects.  Although there are many technically savvy HR professionals, Marketing professionals tend to know and have access to the latest technological trends to communicate and engage with their customers.  How has Marketing utilized social media to attract, retain and engage with customers?  How can you apply these tools to attracting, retaining and engaging your talent?

What marketing can learn from hr

  1. Influencing business behaviour and strategy. As a marketer, you often have a tangible product and/or brand communication platform.  By working alongside Human Resources you have the opportunity to better understand employee engagement, behaviours, beliefs and challenges. Why? In HR your product is the organization, the people and their values.  The collaboration with human resources allows marketers to be seen as a key contributor to the structure of the entire organization.
  2. Putting people first. Marketing can learn from HR that the organization exists first internally and then externally. Indeed the brand lives through its employee’s thoughts, communications and behaviours.  Human Resources can help Marketing gain answers to the following questions: Who are your employees? What kind of organization is this? What is the character or ethos of the organization and its people? What is the organization’s social and environmental purpose? Together, you will uncover the answers to the above.  Together, you will uncover the answers, and deliver authentic ways to communicate the true value of your organization. That purpose will spark innovation and you will impact your people, your customers and stakeholders alike. Together you will shape the future of the organization.

How we can we work better together

Collaboration is a skill and if you are used to working as an individual contributor then it will take some practice.  Please find below some quick tips to help you collaborate (want to engage your Gen Ys – ask them about collaboration as they prefer working in teams compared to the other generations).

  • Acknowledge that you have the same purpose and social accountability.  Your organization most likely has a great solution or product to meet people’s needs. Strategic marketing, brand management, and Human Resources use this purpose as a feed and driver of all decision making.   Keep it in mind and leverage it as your most meaningful reason to exist in the organization. Collaborate to make it happen.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities.  People work better together when they know what their role is.  Whatever strategy you decide to collaborate on with your peer(s) make sure you first clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure efficient and excellent execution.
  • Be authentic and don’t be afraid of conflict.  Conflict is inevitable whenever people work together on a common goal so embrace it, learn to manage it and watch the creativity flow.
  • Measure the impact.  Discuss with your Marketing or HR colleague how you can consolidate your dashboards or metrics to demonstrate the ROI of your strategy.

Your employer brand complements your master brand, therefore, managing the inner workings of the master brand is a joint accountability between Marketing and HR.  Consider that a brand is one’s experience with an organization, or its products, not just the creative messaging. It must reflect the reality of what is taking place daily within the organization. Trust in organizations has a large way to grow, and when marketing and HR collaborate on an employer brand strategy together, they ensure that the company lives up to the commitment it makes in its words, and how it lives each and every day.  “For example, you do not make a life decision to sell mortgages, but you make a life decision to work for a specific financial institution.  If you are looking for a job, those institutions are irrelevant to you if they try to convince you to join them to sell mortgages. However, if they tell you about their people policies, culture, values, and value that they can add to your life as an employee, the conversation becomes interesting.  The decision to buy a product is not as high impact as selecting an employer. Seeing it through your customer’s eyes, if everyone is offering the same product, you want to buy it from people you trust.” Estela Vazquez Perez Colombo, Scotiabank

This is truly an exciting time for HR and Marketing professionals.

Sources: EBI “Rise of Employer Brand Research”, Lynda Gratton Hot Spots Movement

Blog post by: Estela Vazquez Perez Colombo, Employer Branding and Marketing Strategist, Scotiabank and Leandra Harris, Managing Director, Blu Ivy Group

Like this article? Please share it!

Read Our Reports

Employer Brand Research from Over 200 Chief Human Resource Officers, the Latest Strategies and Employer Brand Events.


Stay in the know

Future-proof your employer brand with resources, articles and research from leaders in the employer branding field.

Your Unique Plan

At Blu Ivy Group, we bring passion to every project. We build unique employer brand, talent recruitment and retention strategies.


Close Menu