Why PR and HR Need to Be BFF - Amber Hurdle | Predictive Index Certified Partner, Keynote Speaker

Why PR and HR Need to Be BFF

June 17, 2019

Exceptional customer service is birthed from an exceptional employee experience. Yet the unfortunate truth is even companies who perceive having strong company cultures often forget this. Usually, it is because the public relations/marketing team and the human resources team simply don’t slow down to collaborate. And that is a huge miss.

You see, when employees are the last to know about what is going on in their own company, it’s easy to become disheartened. Imagine the frustration that stems from learning about what your company is working on because you saw it first in an ad. Or worse, how do you think it feels to learn about promotions or offerings only when a customer inquires about them? (Especially since you have no reference to assist the customer.)

Those are short term stings. Yet, the long term damage is the waning trust you have with your team. When internal communication is lacking, employees disconnect from the big picture. And when employees don’t connect their contributions to your mission, employee engagement plummets.

It’s like the old, disgruntled sitcom dad who says, “This is my house, and I never know what’s going on around here.”

Since your employees are part of the business family, shouldn’t they always know what’s going on in “their house?”

This problem can prove to be catastrophic, yet the solution is actually rather simple.

First, the external and internal communicators should schedule regular meetings. This will create an intention to stay on the same page in anticipation of upcoming campaigns. It also encourages both sides to make even small decisions together or to resolve challenges together before they get out of control. After making these easy initial commitments, there are three more ways your PR and HR team can effectively work together:

1.When a marketing campaign launches externally, an internal communication campaign should  precede it.

Working together, the HR team can repurpose the marketing team’s language, reframing it to educate and inspire your team members. The external campaign’s goal is to sell the benefits of your promotion to customers. Your internal campaign’s goals, though, is a little more intricate. You want to build excitement among the team, so they are also your marketers. You must explain the impact of the promotion on daily operations so your team can manage it. Finally, you should provide clear instruction to ensure exceptional customer service. As you can see, the internal campaign is essential. Use your company newsletter, on your Slack channel, or simply post it on a bulletin board in the break room. No matter how simple or fancy your communication channels are, do the best you can with what you have.

2. When you roll out a new product, service, or change, the PR and HR teams should always work together.

A customer hearing,“I don’t know” is not just a reflection of a single employee’s ignorance, it is a mark on the brand’s ability to care for its customers. Not good.

As a team, PR and HR can document what types of questions your employees are going to get along the way. The PR and marketing team brings the customer’s perspective, while the HR team will see things through the lens of your employees. Together, they should compile a quick FAQ and distribute it in as many ways as possible. Pocket-sized guides allow employees to have answers on them at all times. Posting the FAQ at employee work stations (out of customer view) makes it easy to reference in the moment. You can even make it available digitally, if applicable. The bottom line is, you never want a team member caught off guard about what is happening in his or her own backyard.

3. HR can also contribute to the efforts of the PR team.

For example, when an employee receives a company or external award, that is newsworthy! Customers would love to know about it, it is shareable within your industry and it is valuable news to your local or regional community. When a company can showcase its team of winners, that elevates the entire brand. After all, everyone likes to pet the winning horse.

Also, community service, company sports teams, company celebrations, and the like can give a fun peek into your brand’s culture. It enables you to connect your customers to your brand in a more meaningful way by validating your shared values. Your customers will see a group of humans delivering value, rather than a money-making machine. It deepens their trust, while strengthening their emotional connection with your company.

Not to mention such transparency helps recruit and keep top talent because you showcase your strong employer brand. Win-win-win.

As you can see, it does not take a lot of effort to sync up your PR and HR departments. Regular communication and focusing on three simple strategies can empower this dynamic duo. Doing so will produce overwhelming benefits for your customer experience and employee satisfaction.

 

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