Internal Communications: How to Get Human Resources to Collaborate

I’ve been helping quite a few clients lately with their internal communications. During a webinar earlier this week, I asked the speakers how to encourage human resources, which in many instances can be reluctant to work with “marketing” people, to collaborate on internal communications. The answer I received was vague with no distinctive ideas worth pursuing.

That said, I thought I’d open the topic for discussion among Standing Partnership’s knowledgeable blog readers. Would love to hear your thoughts on this question: How do you convince a skeptical human resources department to coordinate with marketing on internal communications initiatives?

  • laura mcallister

    Corp Comm and HR have a great partnership at Maritz. I think it starts with clarity of purpose…continues with partnership…and concludes with shared results that collectively drive the organization forward toward its goals. We work together because we all share the goal of moblizing our employees around a common purpose—our toolboxes are just equipped differently.

  • Justin

    That’s interesting about Maritz, Laura. In instances where there is skepticism, then, I would think it would benefit both sides to show how the two groups can use their speciality areas to drive for that common purpose. I’ve just seen too many “walls” between departments at many companies. Hard to break them down.

  • laura mcallister

    We also have a very caring culture and a terrific HR team that really gets it! smile

  • Justin

    Great idea and thoughts, John, and thanks for the feedback. It would seem that helping with a targeted 401(k) plan participation project would provide real value to HR, and also help build trust between that business unit and the communications team. Then, perhaps, additional strategic measures/projects could be undertaken.

  • John Walp

    The Communications team may want to offer HR some targeted assistance in a single high-value area, perhaps increasing employee participation rates in 401(k) plans and/or flexible spending accounts.  The IRS requires members of a company’s non-highly compensated employee population to participate in similar proportions as their more highly compensated peers. 

    HR departments often have difficulty persuading employees to participate and defer income at optimal levels.  This problem has gotten worse during the current economic environment. 

    Most HR “process owners” welcome strategic and tactical help from internal and external communications experts because they want the benefits to remain available to all employees, they want people to fully understand the programs and make good short and long-term choices, and because they are often short-handed and could use the help from Communications on many levels.