We know the shift to remote work, office closures and layoffs during the Covid crisis placed stress on companies and organizations.   Now they find themselves competing to retain and recruit and skilled and qualified workers to either replace those who departed, or to bring staffing levels back to pre-Covid levels.

We also know that Human Resources managers nationwide are reporting stress and burnout in their jobs.  Even Fortune Magazine admits “Everybody loves to hate HR.” Not hard to understand considering that to some in the workplace they’re the heroes, to others, they’re the villains and, to a third cohort, their presence is only appreciated when they’re needed.

Fortunately, HR has had an unlikely and often overlooked silent partner to help them succeed all along: Marketing. The marketing division is already familiar with the challenge of attracting, keeping and cultivating deeper engagement with customers.  This group can be the perfect partner with HR to help a company become an employer of choice.

Some of the common recruiting challenges reported by HR professionals can be overcome effectively when HR and marketing work together.  Those challenges include data-driven recruitment, building a strong employer brand, creating an efficient recruiting process, attracting the right candidates, and engaging and retaining qualified candidates once employed.

While the ways and means for marketing and HR to partner are numerous, following are at least 6 for the two divisions to team up to create a dynamic, successful workforce and workplace.

  1. Start with data. No marketing effort (including personnel retention and recruitment) can succeed without a sound foundation of information about the market. HR can gain a tremendous advantage over competing firms with marketing data to accurately and efficiently understand current employees as well as identify and target the right potential candidates. It doesn’t stop there. Marketing and HR should continue to use recruitment data and tracking employees after hire to improve the process and make more informed decisions for future hiring.
  2. Build a strong employer brand. Marketing can help develop and maintain the company brand as an employer of choice, and keep it aligned with the externally directed company brand. Working together with HR, both can tell a compelling story of the organization that helps attract and retain top talent.
  3. Training and professional development. HR and Marketing, informed from Step 1, can collaborate further here. HR can structure on-boarding, training, professional development and other activities that reinforce company values and culture. Marketing can package this material to improve initial employee consideration and ongoing engagement. It may sound crass to call this sales, but the fact of the matter is the employer is competing for the attention, loyalty and buy-in of the employee. Naturally, employee-directed communication and engagement is refined to ensure it doesn’t feel like a laundry detergent commercial.
  4. Customer satisfaction. Along with training and professional development, marketing can play a key role in ensuring employees are knowledgeable enough about the company’s products and services to instill confidence in customers and clients. After all, customer satisfaction is enhanced when it’s clear that employees are well-trained and equipped to meet customer needs. Marketing should be working with HR to develop internal messaging and materials that ensure employees are equipped with the latest company  information and resources to do their jobs better.
  5. Employee engagement and retention. Marketing can help HR to develop and implement employee engagement messaging, materials and initiatives that help employees to feel connected to their work and to the company – and ideally for the long term. Examples include internally distributed job- or company-specific content, developing effective incentive programs that reward staff for exceptional performance, and regularly published internal newsletters or staff success stories.
  6. Candidate engagement. Using data constantly gathered and updated in Step 1, Marketing and HR can work together to set recruitment goals, identify ideal candidates, and develop messaging and means of communicating regularly with the market of potential candidates. Digital platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed and Upwork are appropriate for publishing candidate-targeted content. Staying engaged with the candidate marketplace almost guarantees recall and good will among ideal targets.

When Marketing and HR leadership work together, they carry the message “We’re the employer of choice” to myriad employee markets – those already in place, and those yet to come.

D&Co. Associate and HR Consultant Tonya McKissack, CHR, MPA, M.S. Ed contributed to this article