The importance of the relationship between the CMO and their HR counterpart is often overlooked. Whether you call them your Chief HR Officer or Chief People Officer (or something else entirely), they’re an ally in the C-Suite that needs just as much care and attention as that of the CFO or CRO. After all, they’re the person in charge of building the team that will represent the brand and your culture.
Which is why we focused on this relationship in CMO Huddles’ fifth Super Huddle. We started by interviewing two HR Chiefs, gaining firsthand insights into the chaotic state of recruitment, retention, and trying to build culture without an office. These conversations were followed by workshops in which Huddlers were charged with developing action plans to strengthen their HR relationships. Below, find the top 5 takeaways.
Partner on Company-Wide Strategic Initiatives
The overarching message of these conversations was clear: Don’t rely on your employee culture to develop organically—be intentional. Develop open lines of communication with your HR counterparts. Defining clear roles and responsibilities in how marketing will support HR. Look at all the places where the two roles can work together to deliver a strong employee experience—career fairs, the interview process, onboarding, etc.—and then set the plan to execute it.
Invite HR to Team Meetings
If you’re not inviting HR to team meetings, how are they going to understand your team dynamic and know where the gaps are? When it comes to recruiting, there are a lot of intangibles. The more the HR person understands, the better they can support you and vice versa. Invite them in to foster openness and transparency (Note: Employees ALWAYS appreciate these two things), and like any good host, bring them into the conversation so they can really get a good idea of who will mesh well in the organization.
Create a Culture Task Force
This one is a personal favorite: If you haven’t established Culture Task Force yet, get on it! This forum should represent employees across the business, a consolidating force that defines the company culture, tracks employee engagement, and prescribes an action plan to foster employee connections. Here’s the good news: These task forces work better when executives are excluded, so you won’t have to add yet another meeting to your calendar.
Cultivate “Aha” Moments
Marketing has a special touch that can boost HR’s recruiting and retention rates. Here are a few examples that CMOs brought to the table in the real world. One CMO rewrote Job Descriptions on HR’s behalf to be more exciting and engaging, ultimately developing a template that leaders could use across the business. Another packaged up an “aha” moment to activate paid media that the HR team could run with. Yet another ensured that the company’s brand was evident in the onboarding experience from Day 1.
Don’t Take Your HR Partner for Granted
One thing that drives HR people crazy is when they provide candidates to fill “urgent” marketing positions and no one on your team responds. It happens more often than you think. Don’t let that happen. If HR is feeding you candidates, jump on them like you want Sales to jump on hot leads. On a similar note, if you’re facing a difficult situation with a team member or employee, don’t roll up your sleeves and try to handle it on your own. Bring in HR to facilitate the conversation—it’s one of their many specialties.
One last thought. CPO and COO Stuart Robertson of AvePoint left us with a very important question for all leaders to consider as they create their company cultures: “Ask yourself, ‘What are your employees saying about you at the dinner table?’”