May 19, 2011 by Neil
“There are so many similarities between Marketing and HR” seems to be one of the hot phrases and concepts at the moment. For this I read, “HR can learn a lot from Marketing”. From this I read, “I want to play with the cool kids and the cool kids play in Marketing”.
Are there really a lot of similarities between HR and Marketing? Well only if you have a rather narrow and ill-defined concept of both HR and Marketing, then yes. Sure there are elements of cross over, it would be hard to think that on employer branding or indeed on some other areas of recruitment that there wasn’t something that the HR profession could take from Marketing. And if you look at employee engagement, then of course I there are definite synergies.
But to suggest that these elements are the only aspects of either Marketing or HR that exist seems slightly bizarre. I’m not going to dissect the Marketing profession; I’ll leave that to someone else with more time. HR professionals would be better off stopping chasing the perceived sexiness of one profession (there is NOTHING sexy about the dirty end of product marketing I can tell you) and instead look at the entire remit of an HR role
– Compensation, benefits and remuneration strategy
– Industrial relations, trade unions and collective negotiations
– Employee relations, individual dispute resolution
– Learning and development
– Talent management and career planning
– Health and Welfare
– Organisational development
– Organisational design and structure
– Recruitment and selection
– Coaching and facilitation
The list feels almost endless and of course highly variable depending on the industry and the organisation. The thing is, HR has the potential to be one of the truly multi disciplinary roles within the business, with elements of Finance, Sales, Strategy, PR and yes Marketing to name but a few. We may be specialists in certain areas, but we are generalists in the true sense of the word.
Valuable HR teams work collaboratively with all functions and departments, not just on their HR needs, but also on the entire people offering – pulling in specialist skills that add to projects or initiatives or even simple thought processes and planning.
True HR professionals don’t just want to play with the sexy, they want to play with the valuable and sometimes that means being a geek or a nerd. And that’s ok. Just ask your friends in the bowels of the Marketing department, they know all about that.