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HR’s Time To Fight in the Turf War

Turf WarAd Age recently predicted that 2013 will be the year for CMOs to throw down and claim rightful ownership of marketing turf. If CMOs wimp out, then other people (CEO, CIO, etc.) could start making marketing decisions for them.

Don’t forget about the CHRO.

HR and marketing have their own turf war going on right now because of social media. Marcia Conner, author of The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media, comments in an HREOnline article by Andrew R. McIlvaine: “[HR professionals have] chosen to get out of the [social media] conversation. They decline to be part of steering committees on social-media strategy,” she says. “And that’s horrible, because other people in the organization need HR to be there.”

Employee use of social media is no longer just an HR battle to be fought with policies, rulebooks and website restrictions. In fact, you have marketing on the other side of the table wanting to arm employees as brand ambassadors, using social media to increase reach and authenticity.

There’s a call for HR to step up and start helping the company think of its social media strategy. If it’s easy for CMOs to lose influence when they don’t step up, it’s probably even easier for a CHRO’s plan to be overtaken by other people’s agendas.

HR has to fight back.

HR and marketing have quite a bit in common — employer branding and social collaboration have demonstrated that.

Employer branding is the opportunity for HR to think like marketers. Recruiters have to target candidates the same way marketers target customers. Engagement can impact employee satisfaction, and happy employees with an awesome corporate culture help a company stand out. Getting a Great Place to Work award isn’t just a badge of honor; it helps you get talent and keeps the company competitive.

And social collaboration is bringing informal technology into the company. Through blogs, wikis and even video channels, people are looking for easier ways to get things done. It’s like adding an internal Google to your company (and we all use Google).

If HR isn’t thinking about these things, someone else is going to do it for them. Marketing will take over employer branding instead of collaborating. Operations or IT could set up social collaboration systems without HR ever voicing input.

The turf war has already begun, so HR needs to step up.


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