Human Resources: The Internal Marketing Machine

Krysten Gentile

As companies transform structurally, organizations are becoming less siloed and more collaborative. This evolution is enabling HR to become a more strategic part of the business. Gone are the days of just hiring, firing, and benefit management. HR has expanded its role to encompass people analytics, employer branding, leadership development, and employee engagement, to name a few areas. To fulfill these new business needs, employers are beginning to integrate HR and marketing functions, as both areas are focused on influencing and motivating people.

In addition to influencing and motivating people, marketing and HR are coming together to drive agility, define company culture, and develop a consistent company brand from recruiting to customer interaction. So where can the intersection of marketing and HR occur? Here are a few examples:

1. Employee engagement

According to Bersin by Deloitte, “Employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management.” Employee engagement is what we used to refer to as “employee morale”—it’s basically how committed your employees are to your organization and its goals. Establishing an employee engagement function can help define corporate culture, enable employees on HR programs, and manage communications on employee topics. Simply put, these employees create an internal marketing strategy for employee programs and communications.

2. Recruitment

The recruiting world has changed a bit over the past decade or so, as talent acquisition used to be conducted solely via online job sites and career fairs. Today, HR is using a variety of marketing tactics to attract, hire, and retain top talent via social media and company websites. Many brands have created social accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to market their organization’s culture and attract potential employees with ideal skill sets. Using these marketing tactics is giving HR a much broader talent pool to choose from.

3. Employer brand

An employer brand is an important part of the employee value prop. It’s what the organization communicates as its identity to potential and current employees. It includes an organization’s mission, values, and culture. Says Kathryn Austin, HR and marketing director of Pizza Hut Restaurants, “Employees are your number-one marketers. They are the face of our brand and are responsible for delivering a meaningful experience that has lasting impact.” So when an employer is recruiting for a position, they are also “marketing” the employee brand or culture.

In HR. your product is the organization, the people, and its values. While marketing has a different product, applying traditional marketing campaigns and strategies can provide an effective framework for engaging employees, attracting top talent, and communicating an employee brand. And when marketing and HR come together, there tends to be a more effective execution, higher productivity, and innovation.

For more on digital transformation in HR, see “People Analytics: New Opportunities And Common Challenges.


Krysten Gentile

About Krysten Gentile

Krysten is an SAP COO HR Consultant, who focuses on engaging and enabling SAP employees on transformational, high priority HR programs.