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What HR Can Learn from Other Departments Part 1: Sales and Marketing

CoAdvantage – Human Resources must wear many different hats. Its work is broad ranging and requires many different skillsets and tools, more than most other departments than focus exclusively on a single domain. HR leaders and staff must be like business chameleons, able to adopt the mindset, skillset, and toolset of a host of different departments and functions. As a result, there’s a lot that HR can learn from other departments in an organization. 

Think Like Marketing When Persuading

From recruiting to onboarding to training to managing employee communications, HR is frequently in the position of having to “market” job listings, policies, benefit offerings, and more to the workforce. Many HR teams treat this aspect of their work in a perfunctory way, adopting an attitude of “take it or leave it, and face the consequences.”

That’s short-sighted. It’s usually in the company’s best interest to successfully persuade. For example, if employees don’t leverage their benefits optimally, the company won’t reap maximal loyalty and retention advantages that come from offering great benefits packages.

Approach these tasks the same way marketing approaches dealing with external customers. You can’t just snap your fingers and expect that your internal customers will come running and do what you want them to do. You have to give them compelling reasons and help them understand the value proposition of any of the changes or policies you are trying to sell to them.

Then, don’t treat all internal customers as though they’re all the same. Segment your internal audience. Not everyone within a company has the same needs from HR. For example, segmenting by skillset or experience could allow you to tailor training programs to make them more effective for the given audience. Just watch out for equal opportunity and non-discrimination labor law violations.

Think Like Sales When It Comes to Serving Internal Customers

As mentioned, all businesses have two sets of customers: the external customers who pay for goods and services, and internal customers (employees) who provide the labor that generate those goods and services.

Yes, employees are people resources to be leveraged, but they’re also individuals who must be “sold” on working at your business, offering loyalty to your brand, and using your internal “products” (anything from workplace policies to benefits programs). When you look at employees this way, some concepts from sales and marketing become very helpful to HR.

For instance, most sales teams rigorously track data metrics like lead generation, conversion rates, customer lifetime values, etc. HR should approach its projects with a similar data-driven approach.

The specific metrics will vary, but being able to track and quantify performance data is the first step in calculating ROI, which in turn is very helpful in helping organizational leaders better understand the kind of value that HR can create. No, not all HR projects can be easily quantified (or quantified at all), but a surprising amount can – and being able to put a number to its efforts can help HR and organizational leaders make better decisions and generate better business outcomes.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.