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Internal comms and personalisation - what HR needs to learn from marketing

HR professionals play a vital role in maintaining a strong company culture and ensuring employee engagement.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through personalised internal communications. It’s all about delivering the right information to the right people at the right time, using the right channel. 

It's about understanding the individual needs and preferences of each employee, and using this information to craft messages that are more relevant and engaging. 

Ineffective (or non-existent) internal comms can lead to challenging situations when the rumour mill about internal matters such as business change during economic uncertainty spreads around the office.

Navigating communications in a hybrid world

Left unaddressed it can lead to trust and relationships breaking down, morale dropping and the company culture suffering. 

This is where stronger internal comms can help.

Marketing professionals have mastered targeted, personalised and innovative external communications, so why can’t HR?

We need to move beyond blanket emails, group messages and outdated intranets - in an era of hybrid and remote working, it is even more important that company messages reach employees at the right time. 

HR professionals can learn a lot from modern marketing methods, which are all about personalisation and targeting.

Marketers use data and analytics to understand their customers' individual needs and preferences, and then use this information to deliver highly targeted messages.

HR professionals can use similar methods to develop their own internal communications strategies. The question though is how to achieve this goal. 


HR and composable architecture 

Modern marketing is increasingly being enabled by a revolution in how a company's tech stack works. We are moving away from a world of big monolithic software providers that essentially fulfil all a company's tech stack needs to composable architecture.

In a nutshell this involves combining API-first (Application Programming Interface) microservices on the cloud using headless technology.

This jargon translates to giving businesses the ability to create tech stacks, applications and services that are specifically designed to their needs. It vastly reduces costs, speeds up development and is incredibly flexible. 

Now, before your eyes glaze over, I’ll get straight to the heart of why this is important for HR professionals. Composable architecture has led to an explosion in very specialised platforms for marketers.

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Crucially, many of these have been designed with accessibility in mind.

You do not need to be a tech whiz to use them effectively.

In a lot of organisations innovation and efficiency is hindered by marketers having to rely on developers (who have their own day jobs) to execute their plans.

I’m sure most HR professionals have experienced similar scenarios. The era of composable architecture removes these hurdles - employees are now more empowered by technology to do their jobs.  


Modern tech facilitates greater control of internal comms for HR

Applying this technology to HR departments will enable professionals to take greater control of their internal comms and create the complex communication campaigns that are now the hallmark of customer engagement.

Of course getting the right tech in to do this is only the first step.

This is why we should look at another major trend in marketing: the creation of ‘multidisciplinary teams’.

Data analysis now fuels marketing and will increasingly underpin HR. Leveraging this data requires a host of different skills within marketing.

The role of marketers is also bleeding over to areas such as customer service and vice versa.

In short, effective marketing requires a lot of different talents that are usually found in separate teams coming together in one group and each of these practitioners having some working knowledge and expertise in each respective field - ‘multidisciplinary’. 

Much has been written about the need for HR professionals to gain confidence and expertise in handling data. The same can apply to marketing skills.

Why we need a new model for HR, part five

By acquiring some of these communication skills, the HR department can control internal communications and run much more engaging campaigns with employees.

The added virtue of not requiring marketing or IT departments to execute these communications is speed and flexibility.

Many damaging internal comms problems occur because of information vacuums while major decisions or unexpected events are taking place.

With a HR department fully able to create and execute (end-to-end) multifaceted internal comms campaigns, it removes the danger of bottlenecks or information leaking prematurely.

There is a clear opportunity here for HR professionals to become more skilled in using multiple technology platforms and develop new skills.

This could involve data analysis to help with audience segmentation, message targeting and measuring the effectiveness of campaigns; or engaging content that resonates with employees.

By doing so, and especially in a hybrid and remote environment, HR professionals will play a key role in creating a more engaged and productive workforce.

Lydia Kothmeier is vice president of pperations at enterprise CMS Storyblok