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Marketing + HR: How to Create Synergy and Keep it Going

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In the world of healthcare, Marketing and HR pursue a similar goal – to convince people to choose their organization over another. Separately, these groups use data, best practices, stories and imagery to make their case, i.e., bring in new employees or patients. But imagine the impact if they strategically and consistently worked together.

Remember “synergize” - habit #6 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? That’s what we’re talking about here. Cooperation that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts, like 2+2 = 5.

At the simplest level, Marketing and HR work together to communicate resources to internal audiences. At the most complex level, Marketing and HR work together to bring the brand promise to life.

If you’re not sure how to spark collaboration with HR, here are three tried-and-true examples.

Engage in the onboarding process

Employee engagement really begins on day one. New staff members are wide-eyed and eager to learn all the cool stuff that comes with being part of the organization. So, in addition to the branded pen and note pad, secure a spot on the employee’s orientation agenda and give them instructions on how to find and use the preferred channels of communication.

  • Pull up your hospital’s website and give a quick guided tour on how to access online scheduling, search for a new doctor, locate a clinic near their home or work, or learn more about a disease or condition. Sharing this knowledge makes them a more informed employee and consumer – and more likely to tell their friends about your hospital’s helpful tools!
  • Encourage new employees to follow the hospital or health system’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts and highlight any rules about engaging on those platforms. This raises awareness about the public ways you distribute information and also opens the door for HR to discuss any related policies and procedures.
  • Create some shock and awe by sharing recent advertising creative and videos. Your team and agency partner worked hard to get these campaigns live! So, why not show them off and take the credit deserved for a job well done? Health systems employ hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people who can serve as brand ambassadors. Play the latest TV spot or video that promotes your hospital’s unique services to the community and explain the mission and “why” behind your tag line. Watch the employees feel pride in their new organizational home.

Know your workforce

Moving the needle on diversity and inclusion can’t happen until you figure out where the needle currently resides. HR knows the demographic breakdown of your employee population and details on the makeup of your community are accessible through a variety of government websites.

  • Set a meeting between Marketing/HR with the sole purpose of discussing diversity and inclusion. As this topic continues to move to the forefront of conversation, you can make an impact by intentionally seeking ways to partner with key stakeholders in your organization. Check out our recommendations for three additional tools you can use to improve your focus on D+I.
  • Use data to guide racial, ethnic, religious, age and gender representation in your internal campaigns. This process allows your staff to feel seen and valued. It also gives them ownership in the brand and its promises because the people featured look like them.
  • Include the demographic data in any external campaign planning. Compare your storyboards and ideas to the people and cultures present in your service area. This process ensures that all under-represented communities see a place for themselves in your health system.

With some time and focus, that needle will find its spot and you will know how to keep it there.

Review job descriptions

The hiring cycle for entry-level positions never stops. One possible reason for such high turnover in these areas is the job applicant didn’t fully understand the requirements of the position. That’s why reviewing job descriptions and assigned tasks for clarity as well as reading comprehension is another great opportunity for a Marketing/HR collab.

Have a Marketing team member sit down with the HR staff person who creates job descriptions or has the most knowledge about entry-level positions. Ask them to explain the requirements then review the actual job descriptions one at a time. What do you notice?

  • Vague descriptions?
  • Excessive medical terminology?
  • Unclear requirements for education or certification?
  • Ambiguous job tasks?

Discuss your observations with the HR staff person, and together, think of more concise or simple language. Incorporate feedback from people who accepted then quickly departed these entry-level jobs. Consider revising the way in which this information is presented to applicants. (Bullet points for the win!) Your concerted effort will create an accurate and specific depiction of the job while explaining it in simple, understandable terms.

Bottom line, when Marketing and HR combine their experience and knowledge, the result is definitely a whole greater than the sum of its parts. This kind of collaboration brings out the best in both teams and moves the organization closer to patient care and business goals.

Want to take your Marketing + HR collaboration to the next level?

Let’s talk. We’d love to share how we’ve helped other health systems create a winning internal and external engagement strategy.

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