HR & Marketing go together like tea and biscuits! Featuring Rebecca Jeffrey

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Have you ever taken a step back from your usual day to day and looked at how your work has a much wider impact than you realise?

I recently did just that after becoming involved in a number of projects that I’ve not experienced before in my career. In the past 18 months, my company has been through a name change and an entire rebrand. Of course, our Marketing team pulled out all the stops to ensure the launch of the brand was a huge success and the achievement is astounding. But if you look at it on a wider scale, it is so much more than a branding exercise alone, it’s working in collaboration that enables the building of a brand.

There are so many findings from projects like this, but who is responsible for the company image overall? The answer is simple – we all are.

For example, my team and I have recently attended a couple of recruitment events which received significant support from our trusted Marketing team. Whilst they did not attend the event themselves, they provided well thought out giveaways, such as branded earphones for our graduate fair, product brochures as well as providing a promotional campaign surrounding the events on our social media channels.

It’s not an isolated situation; there have been so many occasions where I have worked in collaboration with the Marketing team and they, like HR, are often the unsung heroes of the business, but are always willing to support with major business changes.

I undertook a project to design and implement our careers page on the company website, recruitment adverts, corporate social responsibility processes and communications to employees ranging from the company newsletter through to important announcements, again this was all alongside Marketing.

When a business is running smoothly, it’s not just that processes are operating like clockwork; it’s often due to the collaboration between departments who are all aligned to the same common goal. When you read that back, it sounds like a basic concept, but it’s often these foundations that so many businesses fail to put in place.

Recently, I have been fortunate to have connected with some lovely people, so I sought advice from fellow tea lover Rebecca Jeffrey, co-founder of Fi and Becs Design and Marketing. I was so excited by our conversation that I invited her to feature on my blog. I wanted to share her thoughts on why she believes HR and Marketing have such a strong connection and how both can work collaboratively.

Q: You have such a passion for what you do, what made you choose Marketing as a profession?

A: I randomly fell into HR after working for events company Michael Whisher who supplied temporary staff for events such as Wimbledon. I used to go along to events to recruit temporary staff such as students who were looking for work. I worked as a HR admin for about a year and then moved into internal recruitment, I liked it but didn’t like it loads so I thought maybe I should do marketing. I enjoyed writing job descriptions and adverts so much I took a secondment into a marketing role before moving into a Graduate Marketing role.

Q: There are so many crossover areas between HR and Marketing; how do you think both departments can work together to increase brand awareness?

A: Marketing crosses over into HR in so many ways; like with internal communications “where should internal communications sit?” my answer is that it should be in both, they should both be included in each other’s team meetings. I believe there’s a massive crossover between the two; especially in content Marketing. There needs to be consistency with all communications, job descriptions especially need to be written really well, for example with graduate recruitment, it’s so competitive and you have to stand out for the right reasons.

Q: What’s the key to attracting the best talent through a recruitment advert?

A: I recently worked on a project for a major retailer who didn’t have the best recruitment advertising and were set upon using boring job descriptions, so we made it sound more like a catchy advert to attract candidates, as recruiting is so incredibly competitive.

Q: There will be many HR professionals reading this asking how they can get involved with their Marketing department. What advice would you give them?

A: Go to each other’s meetings, work together by being collaborative you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve by working together

Q: We loved watching you on The Apprentice, congratulations on how far you got, the challenges did not look easy! What was your favourite part of the experience?

A: They had to film me leaving the boardroom a few times because I was grinning so much, the whole boardroom thing takes about five hours to film but I really enjoyed it.

What do you see your future role as?

After attending last Saturday’s CIPD MAP Student Conference I have been asking this very question myself. Throughout my career I have been a generalist, there is nothing wrong with this at all and to be honest a specialist route is one that I don’t think would suit me but it’s never something I would rule out, I just like variety.

It’s easy to say I’m going to work at Google and if you end up there is great but for many people the HR career journey has more plot twists than an episode of Coronation Street so yes you may want to work at Google, but the important part is the journey you take to secure your dream job. Consideration should always be given to career flexibility to avoid us becoming complacent and gain varying experience but we should be mindful of not stagnating our careers so it is a very complex balancing act but it can have greater impacts on our confidence if the decisions we make are the wrong ones.

When we are recruiting, if someone has moved roles a few times, they’re open to being negatively labelled as a “job hopper” but by being exposed to the thoughts of HR peers, isn’t it about time businesses adapted positively and accept that this could potentially be a view into the future of work? After speaking with fellow millennials, we often question is it a situation where an employer doesn’t set out the reality of their organisations then they risk quickly disengaging and failing to retain this group? It’s also not a case of simply recruit, see how it turns out and replace; this only starts a constant spiral so both employer and potential employee have a vested interest to set out clear expectations at the start of the relationship to avoid any “empty promises” which could then see a struggle to retain employees for the long term. In addition to this, it is not only the employee that will be disheartened, there are long terms business risks. If organisations fail to put into place a clearly defined succession plan and engage with modern changes then they simply cannot evolve by utlising millennial talent to develop their business, it has to be a joined up process, a balance between existing values married to modern values to remain competitive and recruit and retain the best talent.

Let’s consider this on a personal level; what happens if you find yourself in a position where you’re not enjoying your role (for whatever reason that may be). You are not going to be performing to the best of your ability and on the other hand your employer will not be seeing the standards of performance that they expect so a succession plan or career path is an essential tool to attract and retain the talent for the organisation. It’s not a case of one size fits all because what works for millennials will not necessarily work for those who have been in the organization for a substantial amount of time. Loyalty to organisations seems to be a rarer vision in today’s faster paced work environments which is a shame as it has worked successfully for various such as manufacturing; product knowledge, process and practicality go hand in hand, one simply cannot work without the other so industries like this are starting to see skills gaps emerging at an alarming rate which will require the knowledge and skill set to pass on to future generations.

So how does this all impact your decision making when it comes to you setting your career path? When considering your next move it is important to consider these things:

  1. What kind of HR professional do you see yourself as? Don’t jump on the trend bandwagon, find the path that is right for you and research the books out of it, ensure it’s right for you before you go for it, don’t just settle!
  2. When applying for jobs, research the organisation you are going into, look into their annual reports, google them to see how they are perceived as an employer, what they do to engage their employees etc. Find the answers to the questions that matter the most to you
  3. Trust your gut instinct – does the decision you are making feel right for you? I remember turning down a really amazing job opportunity at a highly sought after employer but every fiber in me said “don’t do it” and it turns out that I was right to call the decision I did, no regrets
  4. The age old question; where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Make sure you set out that plan to manage employers expectations and also your own to avoid disappointment, we are our own harshest critics and whilst the path to a good career isn’t always rosey, so make sure you are prepared for the occasional hiccups, learn from it, don’t tarnish yourself with negativity
  5. Review your own performance regularly, are you meeting your own expectations, are you on track to where you want to be, are there any development points to help you along the way?

Regardless of if your future lays with your current employer or a future employer, all I know is that the career journey is what you make it so don’t settle, enjoy the plot twists and remember to make the best of it.

The future is bright and not all heroes wear capes… The key points from MAP Student Conference

What – a – day! So much to say in one short blog post but I’ll give it my best shot! Firstly, I just wanted to say it was lovely to meet so many people, thank you for taking time to speak to me, it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope you had a great time today.

Today’s student conference was held at Aston University and was focussed upon the future of work, thinking about options to consider to structure your career and ultimately what you need to do to get there.

“You have one career, (unless you believe in reincarnation) so make the most of it”

David D’Souza

After welcoming the delegates and getting into the swing of the day we first heard from David D’Souza – (you’ll be hearing his name a lot in this post!) who talked all things Superman and Jurassic Park and the lessons from this were that just because that things are done in a certain way, it doesn’t make a compelling reason for continuing to do things that way. Start looking at things differently and start today, think of the different outcomes that could be and determine the type of HR professional that you want to be. He finished with a line that really resonated around the room – “you have one career, (unless you believe in reincarnation) so make the most of it”.

“The world of work is changing, don’t jump on the trend bandwagon”

Dr Richard MacKinnon

We swiftly moved into an insightful keynote with Dr Richard MacKinnon who begged the question “is it worth considering the future of anything these days” referring to the appointment of President Trump and Brexit and he’s right, if we were reading these headlines 10 years ago, we would have thought that the world had gone mad! But it’s true, our inability to predict the future from all aspects; technological, environmental or in a work capacity, we as humans are terrible at predicting the future and that is simply human nature.

He emphasised that there are a lot of myths in the workplace, be it about people, situations and others in our organisations so it’s about identifying those myths and challenging them whilst thinking that just because others are doing it, it doesn’t mean that you should. For example technology at work, just because it exists, it doesn’t mean that you have to implement it, don’t get preoccupied with future technology before you deal with the issues here in the present day.

Dr MacKinnon’s speech really was fascinating and he encouraged the room to research science at work; there is a wealth of opportunity to learn and develop yourself by using free papers and simply researching into these subjects.

I would recommend anyone to look at his work, you can follow him on Twitter @WorkLifePsych or view his website here: www.worklifepsych.com it’s perfect for those of you who wanted further information on the world of work from a psychology perspective.

Whilst there was a lot of learning going on, behind the scenes a hitch lightening us of two speakers had happened, our hero of the day in the form of David D’Souza (minus a cape) filled in for two sessions – engagement and digital recruitment proving that even when disaster strikes, the team handled it brilliantly so thank you to David and the MAP team for allowing the show to go on with no further hiccups.

Other breakout sessions including an employment law update; there are plenty of those lurking at the moment! Business analytics with National Grid and how to secure a role in HR/LD career pit stop session. To summarise there’s a lot of things to consider when looking at a career in the profession these days – and you thought a career in HR/LD was about tea and biscuits!

We concluded the day with a panel Q&A with Dr Richard MacKinnon, Tiffany Poeppelman and Carole Carson to discuss their experiences and career highlights, it’s safe to say that the whole room took something away with them in this piece; some were inspired, others motivated and others were considering which career path they would choose to take as all three panellists have different backgrounds proving that we are not all made for the same HR/LD shaped hole!

“Your actions define how people perceive you”

Tiffany Poeppelman

The closing keynote from Tiffany Poeppelman from Linked In was absolutely the highlight of my day as it helped me with an area I feel personally that I have been struggling with of late; Building your own brand through social media and networking. With the activities I’ve been working on of late, since ACE  I had not blogged very much and have let my Twitter feed fall behind a little, whilst Twitter is back in full swing with the events coverage I’m doing, my Linked In profile was in need of a refresh.

There was so much useful information and tips but these are her five top things that you should do to enhance your Linked In profile:

  1. Complete and enhance your profile
  2. Connect and grow your network
  3. Join 2 or 3 relevant networking groups
  4. Follow companies, industries and people who interest you
  5. Be an active collaborator – share, update your status, discuss and post. What do you give to your network?

Understandably there is a lot of food for thought to take away from today’s conference and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I have and I hope to see you at another CIPD event soon. Finally a big thank you to Eleanor Lloyd-Jones for allowing me to Tweet and blog at the event, it’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of.