Why Public Relations Is the Most Critical HR Competency

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Have you ever read a company-wide, game-changing email and thought, “Why was this sent out now?”

Yup. 👋 Timing is everything.

When it comes to HR, public relations is actually one of the most important skills to master. Here’s why.

Public relations and employee relations require the same skills

If you have any doubt about the similarities between PR and HR, just take a look at typical HR Manager and PR Manager job advertisements. You will see that effective human resources managers and public relations managers share many traits and have very similar job duties.

Necessary traits for both roles include:

  • being likeable and approachable
  • being excellent writers, listeners, and communicators

Job duties most often shared by PR and HR professionals include:

  • handling information requests,
  • disseminating important information to appropriate audiences
  • planning events
  • scheduling interviews
  • presenting ideas and strategies to leadership

Even the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) emphasizes the importance of communication, relationship management, and consultation in their competency models for their HR certifications.

Additionally, HR Certification Institute (HRCI) describes how HR professionals effectively manage people’s perceptions by being “credible activists.” Much like PR professionals, credible activists are expected to:

  • frame complex ideas in simple and useful ways
  • demonstrate personal integrity and ethics
  • earn trust with key internal and external stakeholders
  • show a genuine interest in other
  • act with an appropriate balance of humility and confidence
  • persist through adverse circumstances
  • have a history of delivering results

Many well-known employers, such as Boeing Defense, Space and Security and SunTrust Banks, have already made the connection, and include these behavioral competencies and skills in HR job descriptions.

So, how exactly does HR put these skills into action?

HR maximizes the employee experience by managing the company’s image

The employee experience is largely informed by an employees’ perception of the company and how they fit into the company’s vision, mission and goals. That perception must be managed effectively throughout team members’ employment lifecycles to ensure the best employment experience and related business outcomes.

“Human resources is at the center of attracting and retaining talent, communicating internally to all members of any successful organization regarding policies and programs, as well as training, planning events and a host of additional responsibilities.”
Roger Roeser,

He points out that, in some small businesses, HR doubles as the PR department.

Professionals trained in traditional HR can effectively manage their company’s brand by effectively managing perception. This is achieved through careful planning and delicate handling of multifaceted, sometimes political situations that involve multiple stakeholders. Diplomacy, tact, inclusion, and positive energy are needed from the recruiting processes all the way through to an employee’s last day.

How HR impacts candidate and employee perception

Employees decide whether they can really fit in as soon as they see evidence of a company’s culture. This is communicated by HR internally through policies, procedures, programs and special events and is communicated externally by how HR:

  • manages the company’s careers website, job boards and social media
  • responds to positive and negative online employment reviews with tact
  • encourages engaged employees to provide online reviews of the company and share job posts with qualified people in their networks

As another Bonusly article notes, companies with negative employer brands can expect to pay at least 10% more to hire candidates than those companies with stellar or even neutral reputations.

Many companies depend on in-house recruiters to effectively manage their employment brand and help them reduce related costs. These recruiters should have excellent company knowledge and communication skills—they’re often the first point-of-contact for job candidates, and it’s crucial for them to maintain a positive company image for external parties […] 

Source: Bonusly Blog

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