Communication is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to engaging with employees and improving the culture at your company. Most of the guidelines for HR communication are common sense, but your methods may need to be efficiently adapted to your business.
The impact of effective communication
You can’t overstate the importance of effective communication in HR. At times, you might serve as a communication channel between upper management and the rest of the workforce. Whether you’re just drafting an HR memo or hosting a meeting, you need to communicate your message in the best way possible.
The importance of an internal communications plan
Work with management and the rest of your HR team to develop an internal communications plan. What types of information should be shared routinely at your company? What communication mediums are most effective for reaching every department? Some departments may have different communication needs, like employees who rarely check their email because they aren’t working at a computer.
10 Tips to improve HR communication in the workplace
Timing is crucial
Use regular communication to maintain a rapport with everyone. Newsletters allow you to include entertaining pieces along with the latest policy changes and reminders. Time-sensitive communication needs to be handled appropriately. Give employees advanced notice about upcoming events, and make sure to emphasize key dates and deadlines.
Consider communication type
Emails are increasingly the standard across all industries. Even the employees who don’t work at a computer will probably receive emails on their smartphones. Emails provide a record of the communication. Of course, many workers will also benefit from face-to-face reminders. Upcoming events provide great topics of conversation, and you can also ask for feedback on your other messaging efforts.
Put some extra time into grabbing people’s attention and keeping your message engaging. Video content and infographics can make your message more memorable. Your communications plan might include a mixture of newsletters, surveys, polls, and other memos. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what gets the best response from your team.
Utilize multiple channels
We all need reminders, and there’s no harm in reiterating important announcements and event schedules. Ensure coverage by using more than one method, like emails, texts, and in-person conversations. Text messages should be used sparingly, but they’re effective for reminding individual stragglers about imminent deadlines. Long term policies need to be included in your employee handbook, but there will always be a need to communicate new information to current employees.
Be clear, focused, and precise
Nobody likes long emails. Focus on the most important details and break up longer messages with bold subheadings. Blocks of text and long paragraphs will trigger a TL;DR response from staff. Think about your tone and word choice, staying welcoming but professional. When you summarize and selectively focus on certain policy details, make sure that your messages are both accurate and useful. Your HR initiatives won’t be as effective if employees perceive your messaging as factually unreliable or irrelevant.
Pay attention to tone and perspective
Get to know your audience, generally throughout your industry but also the differences between departments. Your tone can help to inspire a performance-based culture, but you also need to engage with the culture that currently exists at your workplace. What are the top HR-related concerns of employees at your company? Strive for a tone that’s genuine and relatable, but remember that getting too casual can sound unprofessional.
Communicate throughout the employee lifecycle
Your new hires have different needs from your most experienced workers. Start with a strong training program during onboarding. Adapt your message for each phase of the employee lifecycle. During offboarding and beyond, HR communication sets the tone for positive relationships with ex-employees.
Utilize HR technology
Invest in HR software that allows employees to login to an online portal. Employees will have 24/7 online access to handbooks, policies, and other key documentation. Your online portal saves time by allowing employees to perform simple tasks for themselves, checking paystubs and PTO accumulation, decreasing the number of opportunities for miscommunication.
Use online software that allows managers and HR to assign tasks to employees, tracking when tasks and training sessions are completed. You should be able to set alerts and send messages, providing an extra communication channel.
Emphasize company culture and values
Your whole communications plan and individual messages should reflect the company culture and values. If you want to encourage professional growth and excellence, then use an LMS to promote continuous learning.Too many companies post “values” on their website without actually shaping culture and policies around those values.
Utilize social media
Your company’s social media is impactful for branding in the community, but it’s also a place to interact with current and former employees. If you create a private Facebook group for employees only, then you will be able to moderate discussions in that space. Social media is great for casual communication, like event reminders and celebrating company milestones, or casually polling employees for their input.
Follow through with action
Clear communication can backfire if you only “talk the talk” but never “walk the walk.” Make sure that you’re standing by commitments to employees. How should your company’s mission and values affect the treatment of employees? If your company claims to emphasize “family values,” then employees may see that value tested when they need leave for a family emergency.
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