Future of work- Marketing and HR demands common leadership skills

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Marketing and HR are two critical departments/ functions that can either make or break an organization. Future enterprises aiming to become market leaders, have to invest heavily in creating frameworks that can have successful marketing and HR departments interleave and work collaboratively and have significant say in the way businesses are run. No more are they support functions. Common and integrated leadership at the intersection of the two most important pieces of the business viz Employees and Customers is the new success mantra. Having run, both Marketing and HR leadership functions together here are some experiences to share.

Some key attributes and Skills that constitute both the functions

  • Communication – Internal and External: Both functions require you to have skills of considerable level to understand intra and inter personal communications both at Managerial and Personnel level. Marketing requires you to have a strong aptitude to understand customer behavior, choices and pain points. HR requires you to have equally passionate viewpoints about employee preferences, aspirations and demands.
  • Both functions require and expect you to be the spokes person to the out side world and yet the hawk eyed internal watchdog. Corporate communications to the employees has to be in tune with the employer policies, Brand communications to the prospective customers has to be in tune with the overall marketing positioning, strategy and offerings.
  • Branding – Internal and External: Employer branding for prospective employees, as a HR demands you to be passionate, energetic and professional to communicate, convince and cajole the prospective employees to work with you, make a career with you and bring more such employees on board. More the employees refer more the similar minds get assimilated. Cultural intricacies get taken care of themselves. Needless to say cost of employee hire through a referral has significant lesser price to the over all hiring cost and contributes significantly to your corporate bottom line.
  • Branding for prospective customer as a Marketing mind demands you to be practical, yet passionate, smart and convincing enough to put the value proposition together. Being aware of your offerings USP’s, cultural similarities for the prospective customer to feel hand in glove is the most important thing. This requires you to be strategically aligned to customer’s immediate and future needs yet make sure your cost of the service/product in the proposal makes a win-win situation for both sides. Needless to say new age marketing success is decided on ensuring your customers refer a new set of customers for the next quarter. If as a marketer you are able to achieve that, the overall cost of new customer hire is significantly reduced. Its impact on the company’s top-line and bottom-line need not be further elucidated.
  • Marketing and HR as Business partners: Needless to say marketing is an integral part of the way the business is shaped. I do not think that needs to be further explained. However modern day organizations look up to HR as the critical business partner. Ensuring the internal stake holder’s and customer’s expectations are met through a constant churn of right talent at the right time with the right cost for the right work, is a key aspect if businesses want to take advantage of high quality talent which is always limited. A Successful HR here has to be more market savvy to understand and attract the best talent possible. No wonder the marketer in him will take over here.
  • Customer retention and Talent retention: A penny saved is worth a penny earned, we all know that. I personally think this is more applicable to Marketing and HR than any other function. When spending is of paramount importance in the age of cost cutting and recession, the two functions that come under severe pressure are marketing and HR, needless to say they always become thankless jobs.
  • A star HR and Marketing professional is one who can retain his premier talent and the most important customer. Enhanced communication, pro-active messaging and empowered engagement are the critical factors to achieve retention of commendable standards.

Insights to the future: Ensuring highest standards of Emotional Quotient, horizontal employability, generic skill development, Leadership focus, Succession planning thus become very important to stay top. From a marketer stand point; Brand Management and positioning thus call for constant customer engagement, Social CRM and participative marketing.

Don’t you agree now that both the critical functions are very similar in nature calling for a mindset that can look into customers and employees with equal ease, yet not diluting the employer and brand interests at the same time.

Conclusion:The new age Marketing and HR professional is there fore very similar in nature, demands the same set of skills and approach to work. In short, one who can seamlessly traverse between inbound, outbound activities through adoption of social, web2.0, all possible modern day technologies without loosing the human touch is bound to be successful in both individual and business pursuits”.

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