The two verticals are very different yet deal with people management and perception. For the untrained eye, they are often interchangeable. I have had multiple people and clients come up to me asking them to help on recruitment and HR friends who tell me that the other departments want them to liaison with media because of this common denominator: people management.
That’s where the similarity ends. But the rub off effect they have on each other is massive and possibly endless. Here is the need for both to work together closely to create a winning combination for the company they work with.
What can go right:
• When both work together it becomes a symbiotic seamless relationship that feeds into each other’s strength.
• PR creates the visibility and reputation for talent retention and attraction. HR cashes in on the reputation to retain and recruit talent.
• HR leverages the PR strength to talk about employee happiness quotient and create the right perception about the workplace and its policies attracting the right talent fit. Lesser rate of attrition is a dream come true for both.
• PR efforts have a strong role to play in brands earning the moniker of ‘Best places to work’.
• When PR teams talk about the workplace culture and ethics, HR is the first ally who needs to champion this internally and ensure the workplace is living up to the set standards and PR buzz.
• When crisis hits, the external and internal audience needs to be handled together to avoid panic setting in. While today internal communication teams have come up in many organizations, the majority still relies on their HR teams to get the message out.
• When it is a media sensitive matter that could impact a brand reputation, what is said, how it is said and when it is said to both external and internal audience is crucial. This is where a strong PR+ HR association works in the brand’s favour. PR crafts the message and HR adds internal nuances to it.
What can go wrong:
• When PR and HR are mismatched in their messaging, there could be two very different perceptions being created out there in the market. One that is prepping for a disaster to happen.
• While PR can run circles to create a shiny halo around a brand reputation, it will fall like a house of cards when the internal audience of a brand does not resonate with it. It builds more resentment and creates a high-pressure situation for people to lash out. The internal teams resent PR for creating a false image and HR for not making the shiny image a reality. A huge internal communication crisis brewing right there.
• The reverse is also true. When HR works to creates a certain work culture and PR fails to build on that, a golden opportunity is lost. One that could be a strong element in the building blocks of the brand. The showcase of the right work culture attracts the talent that can resonate with it and lesser rate of attrition.
Both HR & PR can be strong allies for each other as they both carry the mandate of creating perceptions and bringing them into reality while being grounded.
But all of this works when both HR & PR communicate seamlessly with each other. Trust each other. And create and image that is rooted in the company’s truth.