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Marketing HR to the rest of the business

Posted by Rachel Read on August 4, 2011

How often is HR viewed as merely a support function, a cost, not part of the real business?

You don’t have to be a marketer to sell the value of HR to your business and the following tips will certainly help demonstrate the credibility and value of the function.

Know your customers

The CEO, board, staff in different functions, locations and seniority will all need different things from you – adapt what you say and how you communicate it to these different groups.

Think PR

Don’t be burdened with the label of being good at procedural stuff when you want to be proactive and strategic. Be proud of your achievements and sell good news about individuals and the department to the rest of the business – face to face, via your intranet, newsletter, announcements, notice boards, blogs etc. Promote business benefits, not features.

Become commercially savvy

Know the business numbers, ask questions of the right people – have coffee with the finance director. Think about return on investment (ROI). Justify the value of investing in people, rather than the function itself. Remember, in HR non financial or intangible benefits (and credibility) are often as important as hard numbers. Make business cases brief, free from HR jargon, enthusiastic and human. Link your plans to the wider business targets.

Get out and about

Be seen as real business partners: in different departments, sites and on the shop floor. It’s a great way to find out developmental needs too.


Personal selling is crucial for HR. Develop a network of internal advocates (particularly the CEO) to champion what you do.

Crucially, as Alex Wilson Group HR Director BT has said, “(HR) should be business leaders first, HR professionals second”.

What works well in your organisation?  Why not post a comment below and subscribe to the blog.

Rachel Read


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