Public relations (PR) and human resources (HR) continue to be major drivers of organizational success. While PR strives to boost brand awareness and positive public perceptions, HR seeks to increase employee morale and satisfaction.
While these disciplines certainly have their differences, companies benefit tremendously when PR and HR engage in cross-departmental collaboration. By taking steps towards the following three initiatives, PR and HR departments can grow their businesses, generate greater brand awareness and increase employee engagement across the board.
Collaborate on Internal Messaging and Communication
Nothing is more confusing than inconsistent internal communication. To remedy this issue, PR and HR departments should meet regularly and develop internal communication guidelines, such as core values statements and a brand bible. These documents should outline the company’s mission, core values, history and brand voice so that every employee has a clear understanding of the organization’s identity. Additionally, these resources can help ensure that employees accurately represent the brand outside of the office. If PR and HR are not on the same page, it will be nearly impossible for other employees to nail down the brand’s voice on their own.
Engage in Internal and External Storytelling
It’s common for companies to become so preoccupied with external storytelling that they forget to communicate internally as well. PR and HR departments should collaborate to share their brand’s story internally, as employees will become your company’s most passionate advocates when they feel connected to the mission and recognized for their contributions.
In pursuit of that goal, PR and HR should develop initiatives geared towards employee education, appreciation and engagement. Social media can be utilized to recognize employees with shoutouts, blog posts and relevant human-interest stories. Celebrating significant company milestones is another way PR and HR can work together to educate employees and unite them under a common mission and purpose. While the tactics employed may vary, the primary goal here is to ensure that every employee feels like an integral part of the workforce and can see how their work contributes to the organization’s overall mission.
Develop a Compelling and Authentic Company Culture
According to a study by BuiltIn, 60% of U.S. employees would leave a job they hate for a job they love, even if it pays 50% less. Clearly, having an engaging company culture is a crucial component for employee retention.
PR and HR departments should work together to craft a company culture that is inclusive, healthy and conducive to growth. One way to accomplish this goal is by organizing internal events, such as happy hours, employee appreciation lunches, staff retreats and other activities aimed at boosting employee morale.
In addition to creating a compelling company culture, consider providing your employees with flexible work options. Throughout the pandemic, we witnessed how working remotely can maximize an organization’s productivity while helping employees become healthier, happier and more engaged. Providing flexible work options is also a great way to boost employee retention rates and attract new talent. PR and HR departments should discuss what kind of benefits employees are looking for and how to implement and communicate these benefits effectively. HR can handle implementation, while PR can find a way to communicate these benefits with current and potential future employees.
Your company may have the most engaging culture in the world, but if you fail to communicate these benefits, you miss out on a fantastic opportunity to attract new business and talent. PR and HR teams should promote perks such as flexible and remote work options as selling points for potential employees. Additionally, PR and HR departments can collaboratively push for features in business publications, such as articles covering best places to work and employers of choice. In addition to attracting potential employees, these placements can also attract new clients, as companies and individuals are drawn to respected organizations with happy, engaged and energetic employees.
On the flip side, if the story being told does not match the actual lived experiences of your employees, you could be in for a PR nightmare. It’s crucial for PR and HR to ensure that communications are genuine. Beyond company outings and employee benefits, culture is about the feeling employees get when they walk through the door. PR and HR can help each other in this regard by keeping each other accountable and holding each other to company standards.
As with anything, open communication is the key to collaborative success. Do your best to schedule and attend regular meetings between the PR and HR departments to successfully integrate the two and develop consistent, clear messaging that will benefit the entire organization.