Marketing and HR - how collaboration can bring benefits to both


Date: 15 May 2019

A diverse team of employees from different business functions collaborates on a project and shares their skills.Most businesses try their best to foster open communication between departments, to enhance business processes and facilitate innovation. However, it does not always work in practice. Office collaboration spaces sit empty as staff keep to their own territory, and fail to collaborate on tasks and projects.

One department that often gets left out is the HR department. HR teams are often thought of as independent, dealing with employee issues while staying outside the business' core goals. For example, how many HR departments concern themselves with sales figures or IT problems?

Naturally, some areas of the business will not benefit from collaborating with HR - but the marketing department is one that will. Marketing teams and HR teams can work together to achieve success - but how?

What HR and marketing staff have in common

The fact that more HR and marketing teams are not already working together is a little surprising. After all, they have a lot of mutual interests and skills. Both departments aim to motivate people and influence them.

HR teams need to motivate staff, while marketing teams aim to influence customers to buy products or services. To do this effectively, both teams need to have an appreciation and knowledge of psychology and human behaviour.

When we remember that all staff are human beings, whatever their department name or job title, and that skills are transferable, it is easy to see how these areas can work together well and empower their business to achieve better results.

What can marketing teams teach HR?

One thing that marketing and HR teams have in common is that they both segment groups of individuals. One of the oldest tricks in the marketing handbook is customer segmentation, and analysing different types of markets.

HR do something similar, but often with less success, when they segment candidates who apply for roles at the company. Visiting a website and finding the same bland, reworded message for every job role can be disheartening for talented job seekers - even more so when the roles are exceptionally diverse.

Another area where marketing teams can assist HR is in technology. Although HR professionals often have a good skill set in this area, the marketing team are often ahead of them - and ahead of many other departments in the business. This is because marketers need to engage with customers using multiple channels, including social media, using engaging content such as videos, infographics and more.

These skills would be beneficial when used by HR to attract new talent and engage with current staff members.

What can HR teach marketers?

When marketers promote a business' products and services, part of what drives customer engagement is the business itself, including the people in it. As HR's area of expertise is the business and its people, they can shed light on some of the issues that customers want to know about.

A customer may want to know the values of the business, as well as how engaged staff are and what they are passionate about. HR has rich answers to these questions, as they are in constant dialogue with the workforce. Marketing teams can tap into this valuable knowledge to enhance their marketing campaigns.

How businesses can help these departments work together

Knowing that there is an opportunity for collaboration between marketing teams and HR is not enough. To reap the rewards, businesses must promote collaboration and put measures in place to help departments function better together. Here are some ways that this can be achieved.

It starts with acknowledgement

No departments can start collaborating if the staff are resistant and only see their own tasks as relevant to them. If goals can be shared between departments, and an acknowledgement of shared responsibility can be introduced, this will increase accountability and motivate departments to work more closely together. Accountability is crucial for getting the best results.

Clarifying roles

One way to develop accountability is to clarify the roles of team members. When staff have a job role with listed responsibilities and targets, their accountability is increased, and so is their motivation to work together with other departments.

Invest in training

Training staff remains one of the best ways not only to enhance skills that are relevant to the job, but to develop soft skills which are beneficial when dealing with other staff members and collaborating in bigger teams.

Many businesses nowadays choose to train staff with online courses in HR and e-learning marketing courses, due to the cost-effectiveness and the convenience of these types of courses. Just be sure to choose a reputable course provider.

Expect initial challenges

When new relationships are formed anywhere in the business, you can expect challenges. How you deal with these challenges is crucial if you want to keep staff, who may be reluctant to the new collaboration, motivated.

If conflict does arise, recognise that it can be beneficial to your business if you know how to handle conflict in the right way.

Feedback and refining

Once collaboration between the HR and marketing department has begun, it is only natural that there will be initial teething problems. Use early feedback to refine processes and make sure collaboration remains fruitful.

It is a truly exciting time for businesses who adopt a collaborative approach, and let innovation and communication flow, especially when collaboration is promoted between HR teams and marketing departments. So - could your business do better?

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