Improving HR’s brand

by 21 Aug 2007

It’s well-known that HR in general has a bit of an image problem. This problem is entrenched both within organisations and outside of them.

When companies have an image problem, they often turn to advertising or PR agencies for advice on how to best counteract the situation and improve perceptions in the market.

HR is not traditionally strong on internal marketing and its ability to sell itself. A recent survey from the UKfound the HR profession is in need of a brand overhaul. This research sought executives’ views of several business functions, and what they would be if they were a car brand. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents likened HR to a Skoda, a car brand currently in a state of flux.

Drilling down further into the internal perception of the HR function, 27 per cent of executives regarded their HR function as bureaucratic, and 15 per cent saw it as cautious. A further 12 per cent regarded their HR function as influential in their organisation while 30 per cent believed their HR function does not meet current business requirements.

While some practitioners and teams might be doing good work within companies, they’re often not forthcoming in tooting their own horn, so to speak. In other companies where the practice of HR is rather lacklustre and leaves much to be desired, this reinforces existing dim views of HR.

HR needs to address the situation from both ends by developing, marketing and delivering on a more relevant value proposition to the business.

Obviously it has to pull its socks up and rise to the occasion with the expertise and capability expected from executives and managers. And then HR needs to work on its influencing skills and ability to market to key stakeholders within business.

Just as companies are increasingly aware of their employer brand in the market, so too should HR develop an awareness of its ‘brand’ within companies.

In the next issue of Human Resources magazine, we examine the image problem that HR has and look at ways of changing perceptions of HR.