fantastic, so they’ll tell others to join and help us get to the next
stage of growth.”
HOW MARKETING AND HR INTERSECT
Kerrigan and Williams credit the internet and social networks as
the impetus for bringing the two departments closer together over
the last 10 years. They point to the way consumers have come to
value peer validation on everything from choosing a restaurant,
product or service and even employers.
“As sophisticated buyers, we’ve become very careful with the
idea of a brand. We research online, using sites like Yelp and
TripAdvisor where you get actual reviews of people’s experiences.
That seems to be more compelling than what a company is telling
you,” said Kerrigan.
“The same is true when you’re looking for work. LinkedIn and
Glassdoor are places people look to for peer reviews and informa-tion
about a company.”
Consumers and employees alike value authenticity. If a compa-ny’s
marketing aligns with what they hear from the people who
engage with and work for them, it’s more believable. Although the
parallels were easily drawn, Kerrigan says a collaboration between
HR and marketing wasn’t initially an easy sell.
When she proposed a joint ownership of BlueCat’s social media
accounts to Williams’ predecessor in marketing, she faced resis-tance.
“It was almost like a new concept. They were like, ‘No, this
is just for how we communicate to customers.’ I had to convince
them why it would be okay to intersect the employee experience
with what customers are doing.”
They experimented by bringing together a member of the mar-keting
team with one from the recruitment team to work on joint
initiatives that had goals in common. For example, it’s in the best
interest of both marketing and HR to demonstrate that BlueCat is
growing, so they posted photos of new hires, internal celebrations
and charity campaigns on social media.
“Today, most of our social media does not focus on product
launches. It’s on our people; this gives us a human face as a com-pany
and it complements HR by demonstrating to recruits that
we’re more than just a bunch of people who sit behind computer
screens,” said Williams.
WHAT HR CAN LEARN FROM MARKETING
Kerrigan says marketing has sparked new approaches in HR,
including an appreciation for data. “In HR we talk a lot about big
data and collect a ton of it, but from a recruitment perspective,
we have more work to do to help find the motivators of employ-ees.
There’s a lot more information we can get if we look for it.
Marketing has lapped us around being able to analyze and make
decisions with data.”
In the meantime, her HR team is adopting marketing’s storytell-ing
approach to help encourage employees to become champions
for BlueCat. This means ensuring everyone understands what the
company stands for, what problems they solve and what operat-ing
systems they use. “This is the world of marketing. We’re telling
this to prospects, why not tell it to employees at the same time?”
BlueCat’s story has been woven into HR’s overall learning and
development strategy, ensuring all employees can sell the product,
even if they’re not in sales. While HR is responsible for design-ing
and delivering education, the marketing team collaborates with
them to ensure messages are aligned.
“Enablement becomes something that’s not just outward facing,
but internal as well. We’re all telling the same story,” said Kerrigan.
BEST PRACTICES FOR INTEGRATING HR
According to Williams and Kerrigan, their departments enjoy a
symbiotic relationship that makes for a fairly effortless integration.
Here’s what Kerrigan recommends:
Identify the synergy between the company brand and the
employee value proposition. “That’s a natural conversation to have.
It’s important for everyone to understand what compels employ-ees
to join the organization.”
Find out what marketing is working on, how they commu-nicate
and how a recruitment team can contribute marketing
content. “The company website is a great place to start. You’re
already talking about the brand, mission and values. It’s a natural
fit and a good place to marry the employer brand with the cor-porate
Loop marketing into recruitment efforts. “If we’re applying for
an award like Great Place to Work Canada, we’ll write the content,
but then run it by marketing to make sure it resonates. They’ve got
writers and designers that can be really helpful.”
Look for opportunities to use or repurpose marketing materials
in recruitment efforts. “I encourage our team to acknowledge that
we don’t have all the answers. Marketing always has a bigger bud-get
so anytime I can leverage the dollars they’re already spending
to help with our goals, that’s huge.”
Kerrigan points to the popping bottles celebration as the per-fect
example of organic collaboration that generates success on
“The contest and celebration helped marketing reinforce our
corporate brand, sales build relationships and employees feel good
about their contributions. It truly became something for everyone,
with the customer in the middle.” n
Visit hrpa.ca to get details and register for the upcoming Executive
Real Talk featuring Kerrigan and Williams.
“THERE’S A NATURAL TYPE OF COHESION BETWEEN WHAT HR IS DRIVING FROM A TALENT
PERSPECTIVE AND WHAT MARKETING IS DOING TO CREATE CUSTOMER AWARENESS.”
– CHERYL KERRIGAN
26 ❚ NOVEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL