The Top Five Ways to Enhance CMO/CHRO Alignment
- Effective collaboration between the CMO and chief human resources officer (CHRO) is critical to acquiring, engaging, developing and retaining talent across an organization
- Enabled and engaged employees bolster corporate brands and accelerate revenue, productivity and profitability
- Strong alignment and ongoing collaboration between the CMO and CHRO can model successful leadership for the entire company
In all businesses, people are the most important asset, and strong alignment between the CMO and chief human resources officer (CHRO) is crucial to finding, engaging, developing and retaining top talent. The CMO is vital in helping CHROs to understand how marketing operates, why organizational designs tied to business strategies are important, and how to apply marketing techniques to the overall recruiting effort. The CHRO can help CMOs secure and develop critically needed talent as he or she designs and scales the marketing organization.
This important relationship crosses five key areas: recruiting talent, engaging employees, onboarding and developing new employees, using technologies to enable and augment success, and C-suite alignment.
- One: Recruiting top talent. CMOs and CHROs must collaborate and align on marketing organizational structures, roles and talent requirements for filling marketing competency gaps, using the CHRO’s knowledge of recruiting techniques. Conversely, the CMO can help the CHRO leverage marketing skills, practices and tactics for recruiting top talent for all positions. Recruitment areas to collaborate include social media, brand presence and communicating the company culture to potential employees, multi-channel marketing, industry associations and employee referrals.
- Two: Engaging employees. Recruiting the right people is only the beginning of the employee lifecycle. Retention requires a marketing-savvy employee engagement plan focused on educating, inspiring and empowering employees around a common vision and culture. Reinforce appropriate behaviors to create a positive culture and environment where each employee is passionate about the corporate vision and objectives and understands how he or she contributes to and participates in the company’s success. To help the organization meet these goals, the CMO brings expertise in positioning, communications and creating an ongoing digital experience. The CHRO can leverage the CMO’s marketing expertise to develop employee engagement messaging and experiences, define metrics for success, and ensure consistency with the brand.
- Three: Onboarding and developing employees. Marketing enablement is an emerging role in the marketing organization for empowering marketing staff with the necessary competencies (e.g. skills, knowledge, process, tools) to succeed in their job roles. Marketing enablement roles are vital to a successful marketing organization, and the CHRO has valuable expertise to offer CMOs who are establishing or scaling a marketing enablement function. The need for marketing enablement and the CMO’s focus on skills development is clear – in SiriusDecisions’ 2017 Global CMO Study, 74 percent of global CMOs indicated they plan to add or enhance the skill set of their current staff. Onboarding strategies, ongoing learning support and linking back to performance goals are all key.
- Four: Leveraging relevant technologies. One of the most consequential challenges that CMOs and CHROs face is the impact of technology on both professions, as virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and other massive technological changes upend the way customers, prospects and employees see the world and their employers. Some of the technologies that the CMO and CHRO can collaborate on include learning technologies, marketing automation programs, social media and job sites; they can also jointly evaluate more advanced technologies.
- Five: C-suite alignment. CHROs and CMOs have a major opportunity to support the strategic business goals of the company by fusing their areas of expertise for the benefit of the broader leadership team. The CHRO and CMO can work together on running ongoing hiring campaigns, creating employee promotions and development plans, managing talent rotations, modeling leadership skills and ensuring corporate brands are robust to potential candidates and other target audiences.
The CMO and CHRO are natural partners. The CMO must acquire, engage, onboard, develop and retain top talent as he or she builds and refines the internal marketing enablement function. The CHRO must use marketing best practices to ensure strong recruiting efforts and positive employee engagement and experiences. The CHRO and CMO are uniquely positioned to help each other navigate disruptions and respond effectively to business challenges. This collaboration is perhaps one of the easiest opportunities CMOs have to leverage an internal partner in a way that strengthens the entire company.