PR and HR: Internal comms

HR professionals are experts when it comes to employee relations, but PR teams are used to creating and overseeing comms strategies - so who owns the internal relationship with employees?

Kevin Ruck, founder of training centre the PR Academy, says HR and PR do overlap when it comes to internal comms, but notes: 'According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development's professional map, which the industry body sees as the blueprint for HR, internal comms does not feature and it is not a core part of the HR profession. I think that is right.'

He says when it comes to employee engagement, HR should be in charge of 'hygiene factors', which are elements it has to provide to stop staff feeling disengaged. He adds: 'PR can add higher levels of engagement by giving employees an understanding of and a say in what is going on within the organisation.'

Emma Banks, head of PR at LV=, says sharing a comms and HR board director means there is clarity of structure within the organisation.

Rhodri Harries, MD at Kaizo PR, agrees: 'Internal comms should mirror external comms. If the firm wants to communicate the strategic journey for employees, this should be done by HR, although PR has a role in making sure this is done right.'

Jane Fordham, associate director, talent and business development at GolinHarris, has moved from a client-facing PR role to taking responsibility for staff development at the agency. She believes having a background in PR helps with her current role: 'It's important to know what message to hone in on when speaking to staff and pick the most important thing to hit them with - this is PR 101.'

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