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Put Your HR-Marketing Partnership to Work

Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan on August 17, 2017 11:00 AM

It's not as simple as "HR needs to be more like Marketing."  HR and Marketing need one another. It’s a duo everyone's been talking about for years.  And now that employer brand and employee experience are at the forefront of workplace initiatives, a formal HR-Marketing partnership is more important than ever.  When the two commit to join forces, more frequently, with the support of leadership, the result can be great. 

Here’s how to get the partnership up and running and what types of initiatives are made for the match.  

How to get started

  • Get leadership’s buy-in and help with formally kicking off the partnership.  If Marketing and HR know the relationship matters to those at the top - and the spotlight stays on, they’ll be motivated to work at it.
  • Set up an initial, casual meeting where both departments can get to know each other in a more relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Maybe it’s a themed lunch in the courtyard, a happy hour at a nearby pub, or an afternoon ice cream party.
  • Author formal, shared objectives and key results – commit to these joint goals and make sure it’s clear who’s owning what.
  • Establish regular status meetings and training opportunities.  Run through progress on your shared goals, have Marketing present the latest sales deck or corporate ad campaign, and have HR share key (appropriate) findings from the most recent employee survey or their online recruiting challenges.  
  • Share your HR and Marketing heroes. If you were to recommend 3 individuals – practitioners or thought leaders – to the other department to follow on Twitter and LinkedIn, who would they be?

When to join forces
Beyond authoring shared goals, teaching new skills and keeping each other in the know, when is it time to actually do the work together? 

  • Ownership and dissemination of brand messaging. While Marketing should have primary ownership, HR brings invaluable perspective to the table and should contribute at the right moments.  Define together when that should be and who in HR gives the input.  HR should then refine and sync up their own corresponding brand accordingly. 
  • Production of employee-focused content. Put your heads together to make some great videos, blog posts and case studies featuring your employees. These will go far internally and externally - especially for recruiting via Social Media.
  • Managing your company’s presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. In many companies, this is typically Marketing or PR’s job. Make sure HR has awareness and input (or vice versa), and a regular opportunity to request changes and make updates.
  • Design of your Careers website. Both sides should bring their best ideas to the table to draw in new recruits, help them experience your brand and offer a glimpse into the employee experience.
  • Recruit and organize company culture ambassadors. Work together to identify employees who exemplify your brand, love your company culture and are willing to show it - both inside and outside your company (think fun photo sharing on Social Media).  
  • Tag team planning for the best company outing ever. 

For all the different skill sets, unique experiences and varied perspectives HR and Marketing bring to their partnership, the common thread lies in their desire to connect with human beings - to better understand people's needs and wants, and tap into a deeper emotional current.  The strength of their partnership is critical when it comes to building a successful employer brand and creating a positive employee experience.  But the pair is also key to keeping an organization focused on what really matters - simply, keeping it real. 

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Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan

As Director, Sales and Marketing at, Heidi is responsible for developing innovative, results-driven programs for Care@Work – a consumer-centered portfolio of family care for employers and their diverse workforce. Passionate about helping HR professionals improve the lives of their employees, Heidi follows and writes about the top trends and research impacting both employees and employers in the workplace, including the future of work, consumerism and HR, building employer brands, pay equity and paid leave policy, and company culture. Prior to joining, Heidi led marketing teams at a variety of technology companies including Constant Contact. She lives north of Boston with her husband Brian and their “daughter” Lexi – a 10 lb. Shih-Tzu therapy dog.