If the HR role is to survive, it has to link up with marketing

By | July 1, 2011

SimonK2-Leeds-07-232x300Simon Kingsnorth of Optimal HR, did his executive MBA at Bradford.  Here he challenges HR teams to understand their role as part of brand value – or find they will be taken over by the marketing function

Long ago I noticed similarities between marketing and HR – I have also been part of the organisational debate about internal communications and internal marketing – and about employer branding, brand values and organisational values…these all clearly have their roots in the marketing discipline.
Today, brands and leadership in businesses that care about their customers and their employees are focused on authenticity – and the enlightened ones are thinking about customer and employee propositions and value.

The disciplines and the thinking are similar – why would a customer want to buy from us?…why would a talented individual want to work for us?…see the similarity?
It goes further too – which businesses don’t segment their customers? – but how many think about the segments in their employee population. Some go as far as thinking about talent and defining that segment – there may even be a different employee experience for them…different approach to career and job moves – a different approach to reward for example.

Some large organisations have put in place roles that focus on customer experience, however relatively few have the equivalent “people experience” role – once again the enlightened see the link between employee engagement, productivity and advocacy and the impact that this has on the customer experience. I am fortunate to have worked in a business that truly understand this link – first direct.

As regular readers of my blog and those who know me will be aware – I fear for the future of HR – the days of personnel, tea and sympathy, and the days of rules and compliance are over – it’s just that some have not moved into the value add arena yet…these roles are (or should be!) managed by line managers with online or telephone support…the true role of HR is in leading change and articulating and delivering the capabilities that will deliver the business strategy.

Beware change is coming – there are a number of organisation putting non HR people into leadership roles over the HR function – Shell have done it, Sainsbury’s have done it too and there are others…will it be marketing that ultimately drives people experience?

HR people – make friends with your marketing colleagues – discuss culture and branding with them, talk attraction strategy and retention strategy – you have lots in common!

Have a read of this…Marketing vs HR and HBR article on HR Leadership

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