Posts Tagged Public relations

HR Marketing vs. Corporate Communications

When I was preparing a presentation last week I came across an old slide I have set-up maybe five years ago while still working for Microsoft. At that time I have been challenged with the fact that we needed to turn the employer brand into a more favourable direction while not having much budget (or no budget at all?). Best way to work on such challenge and get a sustainable impact: make PR your second best friend (best should be finance :-)).

The concept is a little bit outdated due to the development in Social Media but (in all vanity) I still find it a useful slide – for some only to remind you how HR Marketing has evolved over the last years.


It might not be self-explaining, so here is some prose added to it:

What I want to show are the different areas ‘traditional’ HR Marketing approaches (e.g. job postings, advertisements, fairs) are usually focussing on in opposition to areas where PR is usually stronger.

  • Driver: this is the reason for communicating to a specific small target group or a broad audience
  • Frequency: typical HR Marketing (HRM) has been driven by either an internal need (vacancies) or an external need (career event, special interest publications). That also made it by nature  more detail oriented (e.g. qualifications for a specific job profile)
  • Peripherals: Important for the impact and perception of communications. HRM takes place in an environment where the audience knows that they are approached with a marketing message.
  • Content: HR Marketing is mostly career/HR oriented, while you should try to give the audience something interesting about non-(directly)career linked once you made it to editorial content.
  • Ambassador: second very important attribute for communication perception and impact. HR Marketing is done and communicated by the corporation (or closely related folks), PR is usually though a ‘trusted advisor’, e.g. a journalist.
  • Messaging: direct to the point in HR Marketing (“We want you.”), while rather indirect in PR. It’s more about brand building, not only with relations to employment.
  • Style: Mainly fact oriented with some prosaic elements vs. storytelling with some included facts.
  • Goal: speaks for itself 🙂
  • KPIs: Easy today to e.g. measure the source of an application, while it’s hard to go beyond vague correlation with PR impact. Mid- to long-term trends should be observable though.
  • Budget: Was my first main driver to thing about this more and is a limiting factor for most HR departments. PR is for free (mostly) and it could really be build as a win-win for both HR and PR

I found that a lot of HR departments still only have limited relations with their PR and corporate communications departments. Maybe on if the reasons for this might be the different type of people you find in those two functions. They miss a great chance to make an impact – internally and externally.


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