Human Resources Needs Better Marketing

It’s absolutely possible that your employees have no clue what your Human Resources function does. I’m not joking. It’s entirely possible that an employee hasn’t spoken to HR since they got hired – if they even consider Recruiting part of HR. (Ask some folks, they may not – especially if you use external agencies to recruit your hires.) 

(Also: For the sake of this post, I am putting all of the potential names of an HR department (e.g., People & Culture, People & Talent, Employee Engagement, People Operations, Human Capital Management) under one generic name: Human Resources. The effort of the space to try to rebrand has been pretty silly, and as long as you don’t call me “Personnel”, I’m fine with plain old Human Resources. This isn’t about branding – this is about people knowing who you are and what you can do for them!)

People only typically reach out to HR when something is bad: Benefits aren’t covering a specific procedure their kiddo needs and the bill is scary; they owe on their taxes because they underwithheld when they first onboarded; their colleague was rude to them. HR in those cases becomes purely reactive, batting balls out of the air, and even sometimes deals with a ton of stuff that really should be redirected to other parts of the organization (e.g., Finance & Accounting for Payroll, Managers for rude colleagues).

If you are extremely clear on your HR functions responsibilities and provide a menu of services (i.e., what you do) and service level agreement (i.e., how long it takes to get done), you’ll find that not only do your HR professionals have more time to engage in valuable proactive work with your employee base, your employees will become more engaged in the programs you offer because they know they exist.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

The easiest way to share what your HR team provides to the organization is the publish a short slide deck (or page on your intranet, whatever works best) that can be shared in regular Town Halls / All-Hands, orientation sessions for new employees, or at least communicated via email across the business on a regular basis

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Who you are
    • Name, Job Title, & Picture of each member of your HR team (go w/ leaders if team is large)
    • Label with responsibilities (e.g., Business Partner for Engineering, US Payroll, Events, etc.)
  • What you do: This is your Menu of Services. Let your employees know what you cover – if you are not a full-service HR function (i.e., you outsource benefits or recruiting), be clear in showing that! If Payroll is covered by Accounting, let them know! This is a generic example of a Full Service HR lifecycle.
  • Your vision and mission and values: Reiterate what your company’s vision, mission, and values are. Show HR supports and lives those ideals.
  • How you operate: Be clear in your team’s operating principles and your Level of Service. This is HOW you live out your vision, mission, and values. Be clear on response time, and how you want to serve the organization. An example could be as simple as “Respond within two business days to all inquiries,” or “See through our commitments, and be transparent when things change.”
  • Key metrics: These can be updated monthly or quarterly, and pulled out for easy sharing during Town Halls / All Hands or even Board meetings.
    • Total Company Headcount
    • # of Countries / States Represented by Employee Population
    • New Starters by Selected Time PEriod
    • # of Open Jobs
    • # of Future Starters
    • # of Applicants Reviewed in Time Period
    • Median Days to Hire in Selected Time Period
    • Voluntary Turnover Percent (also share Market for comparison)
  • Areas of Focus: This should reflect the quarterly/annual goals/KPIs for the HR function, and clearly show how they “roll up” into the company’s plans. Here are three areas that tend to be the most helpful when considering how to “group” initiatives.
    • Attract Talent: If the business is looking to grow, you will probably need to hire people to get that done! Showcase the workforce plan programming, and how your recruiting team is helping make that happen across the business. This could include goals about Reducing Time to Hire, Diversifying Your Candidate Pool, and/or Hiring Manager Training, for example.
    • Engage Employees: If you want to keep employees engaged and productive, you need strong compensation and benefits programs, as well as career development opportunities and career tracks. Maybe your organization needs to work on Communication & Alignment, so part of your focus could be on programming for All Hands Meetings or other ways for the company to share information cross-functionally.
    • Evolve Operations: Streamline as much as you can using the appropriate tools and technologies. This may not mean using a ChatBot to answer benefits questions (I mean, it could, if the question is really that simple), but you should be providing clear documentation and workflows alongside easy-to-use tools so people can do things for themselves. Compliance updates required by legal changes or system implementations or improvements based on employee needs could fall under this category.
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