Have you ever read a company’s Human Resource (HR) policies and cringed? If you have, then you’ll admit to seeing a disconnect between whom that company says they are (their values) and what they do (HR policies). If you say you care about people, but your HR policies demean people, then what you say and what you do are not in sync.
When there are discrepancies in your corporate image and your
organisational behaviour, then that’s how most crises emerge. Successful
organisations know that each department forms part of the whole and no one
works in isolation, and that includes HR. If you have great marketing and
communications initiatives, but other departments make your brand seem like a
tyrant, then it won’t matter how beautiful your logo, or creative your slogan.
Similarly, Public Relations (PR) departments must be careful in what they communicate and how, and not promise more than what can be delivered. Companies, where the HR and PR departments collaborate, are often viewed as top employers. When your company is perceived as a top employer, you can attract new clients to your business. People want to work with people who care about others, because if you can care that much about your employees, then surely you will also care about your clients who are key stakeholders in all organisations.
In this blog post, I will list ways that PR and HR managers can collaborate to bring meaningful changes to their organisations.
1. Develop shared goals for the organisation
PR and HR managers must share their goals and objectives for the organisation, and identify mutual goals that they can help each other achieve. What kind of employees does the company want to employ and why; what should their character be? What do you hope to accomplish with the people employed at the company? How can we motivate the people employed at the organisation? How do these employees communicate with each other, and which platform can we adopt to communicate better with employees? What do our employees want and need to remain happy and motivated at work? These are the kinds of discussions that HR and PR managers must have so that together they come to solutions that will benefit the entire organisation.
2. PR practitioners must review HR policies
When HR practitioners write their policies, they must ask Public Relations Practitioners (PRPs) to review it to make sure that the plan retains the human aspect of human resources. With HR being very much focussed on the legalities of the organisation, protecting the organisation from any legal recourse, policies can often sound inhumane. Employees can’t expect that HR managers must beat around the bush with attempts to be politically correct because policies are there to protect employees and serve as a guideline for proper conduct in the workplace. However, HR policies must at least be fair and not one-sided, only looking after the interests of the employer and not the employee.
3. HR support can give credibility to PR initiatives
When HR practitioners support internal communication initiatives of PRPs, then they prove to employees that they matter, that those soft activities add value and that it is not merely another PR gimmick, but the company, as a whole, supports it. Often when PRPs host initiatives that are supported by HR, then staff don’t take it seriously because they think it is an initiative started by the PR department or PR representative only. As soon as HR gets involved, any initiative becomes an official company initiative because employees view HR as a fundamental part of an organisation.
It is very apparent when the various departments within a company work in silos; there is much miscommunication with employees and staff, and there is usually much tension amongst managers. However, when PR and HR work together, people develop closer bonds they participate and get together in initiatives organised by the PR department. When people can talk to each other openly, fewer issues end up in the HR office.