Marketing’s HR link

Your cover story on how marketers can use their skills in other areas (“Beyond the boardroom walls”, MW 30 September) should be required reading for anyone who still thinks marketing is the fluffy posters and promotions department.

Breaking down barriers: Skills of marketing can be extended to HR

As Ashley Stockwell of Virgin Media found, the HR and marketing functions have much in common/ the employer brand is just as vital to the success of an organisation as the customer brand. How else, other than through the efforts of employees, can customers experience the value that brands have to offer?

Our experience has shown time and again that in aspiring customer-centric organisations, the two departments share some common challenges and demand some similar skills. A recent project we ran with a multinational oils and chemicals client had as its goal instilling a marketing mindset and skills set within its approach to global recruitment.

HR and recruitment teams need to be able to understand and bring brand values to life through recruitment, onboarding, development and retention, otherwise there is a risk of subsequent brand/employee disconnect. So organisations should recognise that the HR function needs some core marketing capabilities – strategic planning, insight, and employer brand engagement.

With its focus on attracting, recruiting, motivating and retaining candidates, HR needs to see candidates as its “customers”. Marketing’s skills in understanding how to create value for customers and creating relevant and differentiated brands can help the HR department build its capabilities to better understand, define and promote the brand. When employees get brands, brands get customers.

Mhairi McEwan, Managing director and co-founder, Brand Learning

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