Can HR and PR work together?

personal and corporate values

I wanted a happy culture…so I fired all the unhappy people”

There are many good reasons why your PR agency should work closely with your HR department.

At the most basic level HR departments are fertile ground for human interest and career development stories beloved by PR managers. The usual ‘new appointment’ story always makes good PR especially if the subject has a quirky hobby or an even quirkier surname.

At the opposite end of the spectrum staff redundancies need professionally communicating internally and externally. It pays dividends for PR and HR to work together on this aspect to ensure the corporate line is toed at the same time as meeting the requirements of the law and the needs of the people whose lives are affected.

PR and branding is often about emphasising the unique culture of a business. Every business is different – and what makes businesses different are the principals and personalities of the founder or founders.

A good article in Bloomberg Business identifies three types of people in your business to fire immediately: victims, non-believers, and know-it-alls. I’ve added an extra one into the mix: blockers.

How can PR and HR work better together? Are they compatible bed-fellows during the process of hiring firing? Should PR and HR work together to fire people who aren’t compatible with your future vision of your brand? Employee branding has been all the rage of at least a decade but what about employee non-branding?

Bad people = bad PR. 

According to Blomberg if you have any of these characters in your business you should fire them right away because they are bad for business and bad for PR.


Victims believe that everything the business does harms them in some way. If a new initiative, PR or marketing campaign is kicking off – you can bet it spells doom and gloom for the victim. Victim’s typically say things like: waste of time/money and Can you believe what they want us to do now? And of course we have no time to do it. I don’t get paid enough for this. The boss is clueless.

Victims see problems as occasions for persecution rather than challenges to overcome. Victims aren’t looking for opportunities; they are looking for problems. Victims can’t innovate. Fire them.


These people just don’t trust anything anyone says to them. Especially if it’s from someone senior to  them.

If you are a leader who says your mission is to innovate, but you have a staff that houses nonbelievers, you are either a lousy leader or in denial. Which is it? You deserve the staff you get. Terminate the nonbelievers.


People who are know-it-alls have seen it all before. They’ve worked with loads of PR companies and they’ve all been useless/rubbish/expensive and don’t know anything about what we do here. You people obviously don’t understand the business we are in. The regulations will not allow an idea like this, and our stakeholders won’t embrace it. Don’t even get me started on our IT infrastructure’s inability to support it. And then there is the problem of …

Know-it-alls are a pain in the backside and will hamper your business and your PR. Sack them!


The first reaction of a blocker is to say ‘no’. The most insecure and defensive of creatures who never let you get an idea off the ground. They’ve often been scarred by something that happened in a previous job. It’s far easier to say ‘no’ to people than ‘yes’. It also carries less risk. After all who wants to stick their neck out on the line? Problem is, innovative businesses need to stick their necks on the line from time to time. You need calculated risk takers.

Blockers are people who use their knowledge to explain why something is impossible rather than possible. Get rid of them.

PR and HR make a good mix

PR and HR should work closely together to ensure these characters do not impinge on the future growth and prosperity of a brand. Not enough of it is happening here in the UK but as the article in Bloomberg reveals it’s hot stuff in the USA.

Which probably means that a call from the HR manager is coming into your PR agency or PR department very soon.


About Peter Davies

I'm a Manchester PR agency man. I work at RMS, the UK-based independent PR and marketing agency, I'm also a daddy and a football referee. Call me on 07779 033 016.
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