Hold on to your hats, folks. Your HR team is the new face of PR. Human Resource departments aren’t just cubicles full of paper processing, copy making, policy writing drones, they are the future of your company’s business success. Ask any corporate human resource professional, and they will tell you that they wear many hats from recruiting, to referee, operations expert, legal counsel, trainer, and now branding, public relations, and marketing experts. Yes, you heard me correctly, Public Relations & Marketing Experts.

* Internal Marketing. HR executives and their teams are the face of the business for the department’s customers, your employees. They spearhead and execute benefits campaigns, are leaders of the corporate culture, and meet with top executives to develop new employee initiatives like flexible work schedules, tuition reimbursement, employee development programs, and diversity initiatives without a graphic designer to boot.
* Master of Surveys. Effective HR teams use a variety of tools to gauge the temperature of employees past and present through the use of all associate surveys, focus group meetings, and exit interviews much like retail companies like Starbucks or Target do to measure their own customer or guest experience.
* External Marketing. Every outside interaction, your human resource team has with outside representatives, companies, organizations, and candidates is a form of marketing that can be relevant to the business. Many product driven companies evaluate the number of touches, a company must have before a potential customer becomes a buying customer. In the competitive world of recruiting and talent capital management, the same holds true.
* Advertising Ninjas. Human resource teams often use outside agencies or consultants to develop video and marketing materials to highlight and promote a company attribute or part of the culture that is attractive to their target candidate market. But for those who do not, they are often solely responsible for campaign development, execution, and promotion using advertising platforms both tradition and non-traditional including radio, television, community, agency, or organization endorsements, and social media. HR happens in the trenches, and can’t afford to wait for the PR company on retainer to write a press release or script for a radio commercial. In most cases, we needed it yesterday and so we adapt.

Two years ago, I executed a low cost marketing campaign using text messaging targeting university college students at the University of Oklahoma. My team and I sent out short text messages to university students both graduate and undergraduate students making them aware of part time and full time employment opportunities at my previous company. These messages varied depending on their year in school, degree program, and past experience. The campaign did more than raise a few eyebrows as well as open mouthed stares cost us only our time and directly resulted in 6 hires. Considering that a small advertising ad in the Oklahoma City newspaper cost $2,500 to run on Sundays, we were able to reduce our budget by over $65,000 in newspaper advertising alone in six months because of creative campaigns such as these.

Views: 23

Comment by Hassan Rizwan on October 26, 2009 at 3:21am
You are absolutely correct. This is what happens in our company. Although we have a marketing department, but it is somehow assisted by the Hr team as their expertise in the field give them a direction to conduct research and insights to work on. Its been great to see the transition, Hr people taking the lead in the communications too. Soon research is going to become a part of JD for all the HR candidates.
Comment by Regan Forsch Bickell on October 26, 2009 at 11:29am
this article title jumped out at me...its amazing that HR professionals in some organizations continue to fight to be recognized as a key component in companies! I used to be a social worker and on the first day of University, the professors asked what a social worker was...
We learned they were advocates, mediators, change agents, facilitators, mentors, and professionals that didn't solve people's problems but rather used a strengths-perspective to help them find their own solutions. I continue to see how this aligns with HR....certainly PR is a component of that.
Thank you for the words....
Comment by Lesa Caskey on October 26, 2009 at 3:08pm
Excellent post and I believe on the forefront of a huge wave of energy flowing throughout HR departments around the globe. HR is in a position to propel organizations forward and can leverage their influence to do so without spending a lot of money, as you mentioned. Creative campaigns such as texting (GREAT idea - go you!) and simple automated solutions such as applicant/candidate newsletters, follow up emails and requests for referrals go a LONG way to improving recruiting ROI.

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