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What is the difference between PR and HR?

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Monica Anderson’s Answer

Dear Devetra,


The acronyms of business can be confusing when first learning which letters stand for what. HR stands for human resources -- all of the people parts of work from championing best workplace practices to authoring the way performance reviews are conducted to monitoring and ensuring salaries match role and performance to providing mechanisms for employees to grow through learning and for employees to engage with the company and with each other. It's a big, big job and an important one to get right whether a company is large or small. The HR organization can set the tone and create the cultural dynamic. Luckily at AIG, we have a terrific HR department who do a great job at supporting management and creating valuable, meaningful tools for the entire workforce. It makes a big difference.


PR stands for public relations and is the external voice of a company. I may be a little biased, but I think PR is key to building a strong corporate reputation. Telling a company's narrative well and accurately can shape public opinion and reputation, and it takes a long, long time of careful strategy to do this well. Conversely, one negative incident (i.e. recent airlines dealing with the fallout of passenger removal; a beverage company trying to make a public statement that falls flat with its ad); and even the best laid PR strategies can take a hit. Without the proper PR for crisis management, a company can watch its stock fall and profits tumble. Sometimes companies (and even internal organizations) forget the value, the purpose and the merit of a good, solid PR team in place or on retainer.


Want to investigate further? For PR, look up the Arthur Page Society or research Betsy Plank, a pioneer in the PR field.


Best,
Monica Young


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Kim’s Answer

Devetra,


HR has many functions, but I am going to focus on only one area: image control. Because, as was mentioned above, that is what PR does. Public Relations has to do with managing the reputation of the company externally. So, how does HR do image control too? Because it handles employee matters. And there are a lot of them!


Issues concerning failure to pay overtime, complaints about supervisors harassing employees, disability accommodations, light duty, etc. A little reality here: when an employee is hired, they are taught that HR is where they need to go to solve these types of problems, and that HR will look out for them. Not always, but too many times, HR uses this information for "damage control." Rather than get rid of the bad supervisors, or give them more training, they find ways to minimize the seriousness of the incident, or to justify it. I'm not just speaking from personal experience. I have met many, many people who have lost their jobs, and they had bad experiences with HR. Some of these companies out and out lie about what really happened. I used to think I wanted to work in HR. Now I know it would not be the right move for me. This is not necessarily true for everybody. But, if you go into HR, understand that you will be doing what is in the best interest of the company, whatever those interests might be.


I hope this is not too negative for this site - as it is the truth, and people trying to make career decisions need to understand some of the underlying issues affecting a particular career choice!


Kim


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Susan’s Answer

HR is Human Resources and refers to all of the activities surrounding the recruiting, developing, and managing employees. PR is Public Relations and refers to those activities that promote your company to the "world".


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Cheri’s Answer

I wanted to echo Valarie's answer and augment it in this way. The primary differences between human resources and public relations work to me is that the HR (Human Resource's) role is focused on employee hiring, policies and procedures, and truly being an ambassador for the employee within any company, while they do have the tough responsibility associated with firing and layoffs, I think it is very important to remember that an HR person is a very important role within any company because they are usually your first and last stop for answer in a company about a great many of the things that impact you, your family and how effectively you do your job depending on the size of the company. While the PR or Public Relations' role is driven more by what is happening within media relations, how our company is perceived by employees (this is call a brand or brand identity) and other external companies or Public Relation functions, Marketing also tends to drive a lot of the look, feel and templates that are used internally within a company to ensure that brand integrity is achieved consistently, so it is important for both roles to work symbiotically with others throughout the organization.


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victoria’s Answer

HR stands for human resources, while PR stands for public relations. HR is typically an internal department at an organization where the employees and their benefits are managed in addition to hiring and layoff. PR is related to managing the outside audience of an organization including a company's brand, customer relations and investors' relations, etc.


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Bethany’s Answer

Human Resources is the recruitment, retention of employees and even has to do with the explaining of employee benefits whereas public relations has to do with promoting the the brand to the public through writing, social media and other external facing promotions.


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Valerie’s Answer

PR is Public Relations - a position that could develop marketing material for a company, it could require you to speak to the public (print, media, tv, webcast, etc) on behalf of the company in a crisis or if there was a message the company wanted to convey to the public


HR is Human Resources and it is a position in a company that deals with employee issues - such as hiring, termination, employee benefits (healthcare, incentive savings plans,) wages, employee complaints or grievances, etc


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Blake’s Answer

Hey Devetra,

Typically HR involves internal relations and PR deals with external relations.

Thanks,
Blake

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Jason’s Answer

Pulled from a Google search:


HR Overview


Human resources professionals are hired to manage one of your most valuable business assets -- your employees -- in ways that will result in a high return on investment. Your employees work to keep your business effectively functioning, performing tasks that maintain your vision and mission. Your HR staff members endeavor to ensure the investment in your employees is profitable for you, your employees and, ultimately, your business. HR performs many internal functions to maintain a happy, productive employee base.


HR Work


Some of the tasks typically performed by human resources include recruitment, interviewing and hiring duties; maintaining employee benefits; monitoring payroll; supervising performance reviews; providing counseling and overseeing disciplinary measures; undertaking risk management; arranging for employee social activities; termination of employment issues; and safeguarding your business against employment litigation. These enterprises and more comprise the core of work done by human resources, the thrust of which is the welfare of your employees.


PR Overview


Your public relations staff is charged with growing your company brand by bringing and keeping your business in the public's consciousness. Your PR department may employ several people or perhaps just one individual whose chief job is to promote your business. PR personnel spend time outside the confines of your business, essentially bolstering your company's image. The success of your PR staff members determines how well your business is perceived by potential customers and other businesses.


PR Work


The work of public relations personnel entails disseminating information about your business wherever potential customers can be found. The job may be as varied as producing printed ads, commercials for TV or radio, attending trade shows, and marketing your business to specific groups of people, such as those belonging to clubs. PR staff members typically carry printed collateral wherever they travel, distribute brochures and business cards, and talk to many people daily. They may arrange for public speaking engagements where your products or services are featured as a way to cultivate more customers


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