HR team is the new face of PR

HR Is the New PR

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HR Is the New PR

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HR team is the new face of PR

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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 brandingpublic relations, and marketing experts. Yes, you heard me correctly, Public Relations & Marketing Experts.

HR Is the New PR

  • 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 SurveysEffective 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 MarketingEvery 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.

Take for example the following HR professionals who have already leveraged social media and other forms of marketing and personal branding to develop a market and niche for themselves.

  • HR Bartender.  Sharlyn has great content served to her readers in a fun and casual way.  Her website helps her generate conversation, further the HR industry, and is good for business.
  • Punk Rock HR. Laurie is one of the leading HR blogs in the industry and brings a funky and honest approach to what is really on the minds of those in the HR industry.
  • Steve Boese. He is a HR technology expert who along with his co-host, HR Minion have the only live HR Blog Talk Radio Show.
  • Upstart HR.  Ben helps to educate HR professionals from someone from with experience in HR but also in running a family business.  He has a passion for helping HR professionals obtain their professional HR certifications.
  • HR Capitalist. Kris is an HR blogger who is changing the industry.  A VP in HR and long time blogger, his topics discuss all areas of HR from technology to recruiting to performance management.


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  1. I agree that every department (and employee for that matter) has a role (some more than others) in the external imagery and perception of its company, but I think you might be short changing the work of marketing strategists and PR experts in what their true value is.

    When you call a company’s customer service line, the experience has an impact on the company’s image. It’s both PR and relationship building. But, a good customer service experience doesn’t replace a strategic marketing plan. A good article in a newspaper doesn’t negate the need for a PR expert.

    Imagine a major company PR crisis – fraud, scandal, or, even worse (let’s remember the Tylenol deaths or the Firestone tire issues of more recent history). Or, imagine the economic downturn of your company. These are the critical times when quality professionals with a combination of creativity and strategic thinking come into play to help your company weather the storm.

    If you are externally marketing your company through your job, and doing a good job at it, it definitely helps boost the company. But, it doesn’t replace the overall holistic and complex plans created by and implemented by your PR and marketing professionals.

  2. Jessica, I took you point to be more about recognizing and promoting the important work that HR departments can and in many cases should be doing in organizations. I personally agree with Jamie that HR really should not replace the PR or communications functions in an organization. I think the key is for HR to be comfortable with the strategies and to some extent the technologies, and be ready to support PR, marketing, communications, etc. Thanks very much for mentioning the HR Happy Hour show on the post, I really appreciate it.

  3. Jessica, nice look at the other expertise required by HR professionals, nowadays.

    Emphasizes the need for coordination of all media/social media efforts in an organization. Can’t be handled through the corporate relations professionals alone; HR, purchasing, marketing, etc… all have their own media challenges.

    Peprhaps corporate relations should be a Team composed of all these sectors.

  4. I have the utmost respect for the folks listed above but I have to disagree in the larger, macro use of the term HR. The past month I have been a panelist or speaker at four HR events and I am nearly speechless from some of the most basic and frequently asked questions I have heard including:

    – Do I really need a LinkedIn profile?
    – How do I set up a Facebook profile?
    – Is this Tweeter thing for real?
    – So people talk about work stuff online?

    The one recurring theme at all of these events: attendees were overwhelmed with and by the technology being used.

    So yes our friends above are awesome at what they do but I suggest that if they were in a car driving down the road, looked in the rear view mirror they would see very few if any of their colleagues.

    Sure this should (and better) change over time but I am not holding my breath.

    1. Paul, thanks for the input. The HR folks I listed in the post are working hard to try to change the things you listed in your comment. This is one the topics of discussion for the upcoming unconference, HR Evolution. Unfortunately, part of the HR community is slow to adapt to the social media world and we need people like you to help push everyone forward.


  5. I totally agree. I actually found this blog post because so many of my new ideas and projects seem to be more closely related to marketing than traditional HR. In order to recruit and maintain the best talent, we have to consciously be concerned about the overall employee morale, company image, and company culture. In order to recruit the best candidates, we have to attract them with the right culture. I also think we need to ensure that we stay current and relative in this technological age.

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