The HR discipline is evolving into a strategic voice because its sphere of influence — talent attraction, engagement and retention — is now recognized as the foundation to organizational success. But the pervasive influence of social media on the work world demands change in the way employers motivate and communicate with talent. We’ve seen success with a novel approach to talent engagement: an integrated HR-Marketing strategy that teams Marketing’s brand messaging savvy with HR’s internal perspective and expertise. When HR brings a communication orientation to its role, the entire company benefits. The partnership brings added value to Marketing as well. How much more effective could a CMO be if he or she knew for certain that talent would deliver on the brand promise made in every external marketing message?

We discovered the power of the HR-Marketing connection when Versant, the marketing firm that Will runs, and Xerox, where Patricia was CHRO, collaborated on several projects. Our first, in 2005, aimed to transform the way Xerox’s HR staff connected with its workforce and align Xerox employees with new business goals. Together, we developed a strategic communication plan to build HR staff engagement for this new HR orientation. Over the next two years, Xerox’s joint team worked closely with Versant to develop the creative messaging, and roll it out to the internal HR audience.

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