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Valuable Lessons That HR Can Learn From PR


The human resources team and the public relations team both have the same job functions. They plan events and schedule interviews. They manage requests internally as well as from stakeholders, while keeping in mind the company's vision, mission and goals. They are the information disseminators, and step in every time, in case there is news to be shared - good or bad. They present relationship building and strengthening strategies for their organisation's growth, to the leadership team. They aim to be well-liked, are approachable, good listeners, and communicators. The only difference - one team manages internal communications, while the other, external.


But both teams are just as crucial to all the communication that happens on behalf of the organisation. So why not get such efficient teams in the workforce to work in tandem?


Human Resources and Public Relations: Like Two Peas from Different Pods?

Both the teams bring something valuable to the table. The HR team’s job roles majorly revolve around recruiting, managing talent, employee training and engagement. But at the same time, the HR is a communicator for the organisation while the PR team excel in branding and outreach programs, a skill that can come in truly handy when it comes to recruiting new employees. More importantly, unlike before, almost 47% of PR professionals have stated that most organisations have an in-house PR team, according to a 2019 Communications Survey by Job Of The Week.


But here’s what the HR team can learn from the PR team:


Lesson #1 Seamless Storytelling

Every organisation has a story behind its inception and growth. But whether or not it is interesting to tell, or how it can be made interesting, needs expertise. That’s where the PR team steps in - to work upon which details to leave out and which ones to play up in order to make it a story worth people’s time and organisation’s reputation. The HR team, who is best aware of this story, can build upon the brand’s positioning with the PR team’s help and strategically attract potential employees.


Lesson #2 Impactful Employer Branding

Organisations that have a positive image when it comes to employment, tend to receive far more job applications from worthy candidates, retain existing employees and also save spends when it comes to the total employee base. The organisation’s image or reputation in the market ie. an employer brand is something that requires constant maintenance. The PR team knows their way around developing strategies for such an external-oriented communication process. Thus, the HR team must synergise to attract, engage and retain employees.


Lesson #3 Effective Crisis Management

Any organisation must be prepared to deal with any crises that hits them. More commonly a job role for the HR team, crisis management is nothing if not effectively dealt with. Reacting to it, developing a preparedness plan, focusing on training and planning to come out of it, it's all necessary for smooth functioning of the organisation. But the first and most important step is communicating this to the internal and external stakeholders, building resilience and maintaining calm - something that the PR team is more adept and familiar with. How to convey facts and minimise negativity to ensure it does not adversely affect the organisation’s growth; while incorporating adaptability and agility as a response to unexpected situations, is best learnt from the PR team.


Lesson #4 Meticulous Executive Training

Training employees to communicate and manage their teams better, is one of the key responsibilities of the HR team. But not all are experts in this department and if there is anyone within the organisation who has frequent experience in this area it’s the PR team. Whether it has to do with on-camera skills, or preventing slip of tongue due to nervousness (and transitioning from it if it does happen), networking during social events or what to say during a dicey situation - the PR team knows it all and can work with the HR team to help train the organisation’s spokespersons.


Integrating Technology to Drive Industry Insights

Most PR teams are well-equipped with tools to track their campaigns. Whether it is to position their brands, analyse reputation, track mentions or monitor market trends. These artificial intelligence tools help gauge numbers which prove beneficial when mapping results to build strategies for the next campaign. According to a Global Communications Report by USC Annenburg School for Communication and Journalism, almost 88% of PR professionals believe that digital storytelling is the future. Although currently at a nascent stage, it can be extremely useful for the HR team to map, analyse and consistently monitor employee expectations and emotions using AI.


Collaboration is the Success Mantra

At the end of the day, business increases not just with talent but also when the organisation is well run. Armed with empathy, the HR team has always been making people-centric decisions to ensure committed and engaged employees, that in turn lead to organisational growth. With factors like work culture and employer branding intertwining to build business growth, there’s no reason why the HR and PR teams should not collaborate, for further success.


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