It had been talked about for years. But since the reorganisation of office culture during the Covid crisis and the subsequent shortage of skilled workers, the topic has suddenly become a major focus: Extreme home officing, remote management, mobile office and virtual recruiting are nothing short of a character test for companies. It's a test to show whether the corporate values presented in beautifully created image advertisements, on career pages and in employee communication actually ring true.
Employer branding is no longer just the anchor point for a convincing copytext in the career portal, uniform imagery in job advertisements and the motto for company events. Employer branding is an active relationship builder and forms the infrastructure for any transformation and innovation within a company. As a result, the charisma exercised by employer branding works incrementally in terms of a company's perception both internally and externally.
"Those who have not yet recognised the relevance of employer branding for their own company will have a hard time in the near future. According to LinkedIn, 41%* of employees in 2022 have actively thought about leaving their company for a better offer for reasons beyond just salary.”
It is only by radically linking the former "HR and marketing" silos that a holistic corporate identity can be created - an identity which is reflected internally in the day-to-day culture and externally through a company's brand, product and services.
"Successful companies need to add value in two ways. Firstly, through the products or services they sell and, secondly, through the consistent culture they offer to their employees. If they neglect the latter, then they will have a much harder time with the former"
The consistent merging of topics such as new work, CSR, DE&I and purpose in a company's employer branding identity requires not only higher budgets but also the blending of expertise, human resources, common structures and data-based goals of both departments. In short, existing HR and marketing silos need to be dismantled.
Three tips that can help with the first step:
Even when each department pursues its own goals, at least in the short term, the first step is to identify the overriding interests of both departments. These could be, for example, the use and presence in digital media channels or the creation of content (uniform look & feel). This minimises the "not-invented-here" syndrome and creates a shared awareness. Based on common interests, shared goals can additionally be defined, leading to a more regular exchange that even goes beyond interests.
The temporary or permanent rotation of colleagues within the two departments not only ensures that knowledge is automatically transferred, but also creates a cultural and human sense of community between the teams. Even though this approach requires more effort in the short term, for example by training the colleagues, the first results of the joint "cooperation" can already be seen in the medium term without a department losing its independence.
What is already standard practice in the field of digitalisation also helps in connecting HR and marketing (as well as other relevant departments). Forming interdisciplinary and interdepartmental teams brings together different perspectives and promotes innovation and new ideas. In this way, teams can freely interact and collaborate to develop new concepts, which are then brought back to the departments and further developed there. Incidentally, interdisciplinary working groups also promote empathy by having people assume each other's positions.
A joint venture between marketing and HR is very costly. Not only do colleagues have to be continually trained in new areas, there also need to be sufficient resources to compensate for the additional costs and workload so that no complications arise in the long term. Nevertheless, I strongly advocate having the courage to take this step. A joint venture of marketing and HR strengthens the sense of community and promotes cross-departmental cooperation.
Author: Emanuel Dennis, General Manager Serviceplan Consulting Group
*LinkedIn Workplace Confidence Report November 2022