The competition for departmental funding can be fierce. Find out how promoting HR services can protect your budget

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In the past year, HR departments have become markedly more concerned about how they’re perceived. 

Nearly two-thirds now view satisfaction with their department’s performance as an important priority, according to Bloomberg BNA data. In 2015, only four in 10 felt that way.

With various departments vying for an increasingly larger piece of the organization’s budget, HR’s image anxiety is understandable.

Human resource programs, after all, aren’t getting any less expensive to run; and HR departments have yet to return to the 5 percent annual budgetary increases they saw before the Recession.

There is a way, however, HR can increase its chance of getting a bigger piece of the pie — by identifying, and then publicizing its HR brand.

If your team hasn’t been emphasizing the HR services and retention, hiring and other results it has achieved, the following four moves can help you successfully start advocating for your department’s work — and take the first step toward obtaining the funding it will need in the future:

Identify (and correct) any current HR branding issues

HR departments need to determine how employees view their contributions before they can promote their HR brand. What do you offer that other organizations’ HR departments do not? Are you providing the programs, benefits and other amenities employees truly want? Find out by conducting a company-wide survey and paying attention to the employee satisfaction drivers that matter most.

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Determine what items brand messaging should highlight

Increased efficiency is a strong selling point. If your department has invested in a new document management or other operational system that helped boost productivity, make sure leadership and employees know you’ve sped up service delivery. If you’ve outsourced any HR services, such as payroll administration or benefits management, stress the impact that’s had on your department’s ability to complete additional work.

If you don’t already use analytics measurement tools, which can provide valuable metrics for your HR branding campaign, consider adding some. About half of organizations, according to Sierra-Cedar research, use analytics to review compliance and retention risks and perform HR benchmarking.

Convey information the right way

Positioning HR brand messaging as news about collective achievements — a win for the entire organization, not just HR — can reduce the risk of it sounding like blatant self-promotion. It may also help strengthen engagement: For workers, feeling pride in their organization, according to a recent study, is the No. 1 catalyst for employee happiness.

Although email is often the most popular communication method, if you’re a widespread organization, or plan to share news with external vendors and contributors, keep in mind half the global workforce doesn’t have a corporate email address, according to research from Dynamic Signal. Sharing your HR departments’ updates on a company intranet, which workers ranked as the one of the most effective internal communication forms, may be a better choice. 

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Engage employee advocates

HR’s brand messaging, even when perfectly crafted, is still coming from HR — and thus will feel at least slightly promotional. By positioning HR accomplishments as enterprise-wide achievements and encouraging employees to share the news with their personal and professional networks, the information may have a greater impact on recruiting. Jobseekers view executives as the least trusted source for information; job candidates rank current employees, however, as the most trusted source, a CareerArc survey found.

Much like an HR brand, branding efforts that relate to an organization’s external image and the employee experience it offers can have a significant effect on the company’s status in the talent marketplace.

Defining and managing an employer brand can, however, be a time-intensive, often daunting task. It requires a thorough organizational review; making carefully targeted website and other brand messaging updates; a robust social media campaign involving frequent posts written for specific audiences — and more.

For help establishing an employer brand — from accurately defining your employee value proposition to conveying your organization’s unique story — download our free white paper on improving your employment identity.

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