Marketing departments encroach on HR territory

HR chiefs have called for the function to forge closer partnerships with marketing departments after claims that the profession could steal elements of HR’s job.

Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management, said last week that HR was at risk of losing recruitment and retention responsibilities to marketing.

“Establishing a market, finding out its needs and meeting those needs that’s what marketing does,” de Valk told Personnel Today. “The transformation of the marketing profession over the past 10 years indicates it is possible it could just take on HR’s skills as it continues to grow.”

Brad Taylor, internal HR director for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, said marketing could teach HR a few things but would never replace it.

“Marketing has much to bring to raising employee engagement, given their expertise in developing brand awareness, but HR is still best-placed to take a holistic approach to people,” he told Personnel Today.

Sonia Wolsey-Cooper, group HR director for insurance firm Axa UK, said HR had to think of the business’s needs, even if that meant surrendering some control of recruitment or employee engagement programmes.

“HR has a very strong support and facilitation role, but it has to adapt according to what the business needs. Whatever gets the best end result for the business should come first,” she said.

Richard Fuller, HR director for financial services firm Threadneedle, said the two professions had much to learn from one another, but each had a distinct and irreplaceable skill-set.

Jackie Orme, chief executive of the CIPD, commended the marketing profession on its rise to prominence over recent decades during a speech at the HR Directors Club dinner in late September.

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