Company Culture Employee Engagement Employee Experience Leadership

5 things HR can learn from Marketing

Best marketing practices are often shared, however without making the bridge to HR in more profound ways. Hence, I’m sharing some thoughts out of our own experience at mad about you.

In simple terms, marketing primarily takes care of reaching people outside of the company, to sell its services & products day by day. In order to keep your business up, you need your clients, customers, consumers. HR focuses primarily on reaching people inside of your organization, to sell them your company day by day. In order to keep your company up, you need your leaders, managers, employees.

So, what could HR learn from marketing? Here are a handful of insights, looking forward to your comments and additions!

1. Learn to sell your company

HR isn’t strong in selling their company to its employees: it’s not the core skill of the department at most businesses. HR can and should learn how to sell the company, much like marketing knows how to sell the brand. And what sells your company? It’s mainly your company culture. Strong marketing brands have a strong position and listen to their clients, customers, consumers. Hence strong employer brands must be equally thoughtfully crafted, with purpose, identity and values. They have to continuously listen to their leaders, managers and employees.

2. Foster communities inside your company

Marketing is strong in creating communities, or at least think of their customer groups as communities, taking ultimate pride of people who have the brand’s logo tattooed on their body. HR can learn from marketing to build communities inside. Not only the fun ones; the party committees, the after-work gangs, those who do volunteering work and do good for society. There is a very interesting road ahead in looking at building communities inside your company. Communities can be the true glue across departments; sharing knowledge, enabling collaboration, stimulating team loyalty. Maybe one day you’ll have employees with your logo on their body as well. Yes, they do exist.

3. Build bold beliefs 

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The same goes for employees. The background of the HR domain is very different than that of marketing. However, in the past years a whole new dynamic has been and is still developing around HR. Much like marketing has been walking the purposeful or meaningful branding path, employees need to know why they should step into the boat and where they are rowing and growing to. Customers buy meaningful brands; employees choose purposeful companies. Embed your company culture in everything you do, to bring unity & clarity. 

4. Don’t get stuck in marketing speak

Big Data, Employee Experience, Employee Journey’s… in the past years marketing concepts have been making their way into the HR domain. By over conceptualizing self-evident processes, you risk however missing the point of what is truly needed. Gathering data and designing journey’s mean nothing as long as you do not fully bring them to life; we’ve seen to many shiny initiatives getting stuck in slide decks, checking the buzzword boxes without touching employee’s lives. The model nor the buzzword ever solves the problem.

5. You have to walk before you can run

The marketing domain is driven by fast paced innovation and rushed by sales targets. Despite all the action and in regard of this post, I dare say customers are rather occasionally in touch with a brand, e.g. when they see an ad, need a service or are shopping in the aisles. Employees however are in touch with your company every single day. People are sensitive to what is communicated to them; but this applies more to employees than to customers.

Take your time to thoughtfully communicate about your company’s strategy, identity and culture. Make room to have people talk about initiatives, nurture each other with pride, and celebrate successes together. Do not only make noise about what you intend to do, but truly deliver on the promises you make to your employees. Walk your talk, it will make the run fun.

Which leads me to my final quote for HR and Marketing:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Don’t only learn from each other, work with each other.

Let me know, what’s your favorite takeaway here? And what else do you think HR can learn from marketing?

Company Culture Leadership

3 Reasons to invest in your company culture & values right now.

When Harvard Business Review posted their ’10 questions to steer your company through the current crisis’, company culture was on the list. Company culture based on strong company values and inspiring leadership, is needed to keep employees engaged and motivated to guide your company through the challenges we’re facing. Culture brings employees together towards the solutions that we need every single day.

1. Strong companies thrive on strong cultures.

Every successful company someday will stand in the face of a crisis, today we all are. It is precisely in times of crisis that culture determines how you deal with difficult moments & decisions and ultimately how you are perceived and supported by your employees.

When your company has an outspoken mindset, a clear identity, driven by crisp values that are lived up to also by its leaders, you are much more likely to unite your employees and be able to continuously count on them.

2. We can no longer rely on our office, with its rituals and habits.

Culture happens at every company, but not every company manages its culture. Culture is organic and continuously evolving. Culture happens at the watercooler and the coffee machine, in the meeting room and at our desks; culture lives when we meet each other. These days however, these rituals are no longer available. So if your company culture is not managed, not supported with values as its foundations, you risk to lose your employees in their isolation. The result is scattered interpretations that stand in the way of the successful collaborations we need so badly.

3. Your employees are your company.

Whatever industry you’re in, or whatever the size of your company, let’s not forget that it exists because of your employees. It is even in the origins of the word, derived from the old French word ‘compagnie’: society, friendship, fellowship.

It may be easy to know, but it is critical to understand that investing in your culture and clear values, directly impacts your bottom line. The list of research is endless; e.g. 46% of HR, procurement and C-suite leaders say a strong brand leads to stronger engagement and higher productivity (Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends). From hiring through firing, investing in your employees is investing in your company.

Developing and managing a strong culture for and with your employees should be high on your list, if you want to stand for a strong company.