The place of Internal Comms in the HR/PR tussle

Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 by

Just who is in charge of internal communications? Where once the roles of human resources and public relations seemed clearly demarcated and occupied their own spaces, there is an increasing amount of crossover occurring, blurring the boundaries and raising questions of ‘ownership’. While in some firms constructive and collaborative relationships are emerging between the two arms of management, others still have to resolve the balancing act of employee engagement and relationship management. In 2009 Shell attempted to address this by appointing a global marketing, recruitment and HR comms manager, who reports in to the recruitment, HR and comms vice-presidents. Insurance and pensions firm LV= went one step further, engaging David Smith as director of HR and Comms, overseeing both the HR and PR departments. ‘It’s really important for an HR director to have a good relationship with the PR department, as he or she can provide significant support in helping to communicate your employment proposition, hence shaping the brand of the organisation,’ says Smith. Ultimately the question remains whether people will remain in their own silos, engaged in what has been described as ‘Neanderthal stone throwing’ or whether they can adapt, integrate and evolve new ways of collaborating to bring fresh vision and value to their businesses.