Five Internal Communication Strategies for HR Professionals
A new study exploring communication requirements of non-desktop, remote, and office workers found despite their different work environments, all three segments share a common view of the importance, frequency, and channels of communication.
Research revealed that employees would like to hear from their HR teams more frequently and consider open communication to all employees one of the top initiatives they would like to see their organizations focus on.
Highlights from EmployeeChannel Inc.’s report What Every Employee Wants From Their HR Team indicate:
- Only 16% of the 1,200 U.S. respondents reported feeling “connected and engaged.”
- Nearly half reported they were “neutral, disagreed, or strongly disagreed” that the HR team’s communication efforts made them feel more informed or engaged at work.
- 75% indicated that HR communicates with them “never or rarely” or only “sometimes.”
- When asked how they wished the HR department would communicate with them, the top response for all segments was “more frequently.”
In a 2014 interview with Nancy Painter for HR Voice, Ron Shewchuk, a Vancouver consultant who specializes in strategic internal communications and employee engagement stressed how HR openness and transparency is essential. “Our first urge is not to communicate until a problem is completely solved. That’s the wrong kind of thinking – the rumor mill will fill any gaps. Give people updates. If you let people in on your struggle, they’re more likely to be sympathetic. You lose trust and credibility if you only report on it after the problem is solved.”
Seasoned communicators recommend these five internal communication strategies for HR professionals
- Make it easy for employees to find and share information.
- “The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan’s phrase of renown rings especially true in this digital age of instantaneous information - news as it’s happening. Take advantage of technology. Sales people and increasing numbers of others work remotely. Consider the workplaces of employees and the tools of their trade.
- Keep in mind one size doesn’t fit all communication. Think about the content you wish to share. A character-limited twitter has different applications than a text message blast, email, conference call, town-hall, webinar, video, intranet posting or hard-copy desk drop (or mailer). Major communiqués may require a multi-channel approach.
- Everyone fancies themselves a writer. But few are masterful wordsmiths who know how to communicate effectively in succinct plain language. Reach out to your organization’s communications team if you have one, or work with a professional writer who can show you examples of their style, skills, and clients.
In the words of Garry Griffiths, executive vice president of HR for American Management Systems, a business and information technology consulting firm, “The “HR machine is like an iceberg. Most of what takes place is underwater and doesn't do any good for anybody unless it’s communicated. That communication should be the purview of professional communicators, not HR staff members…. It’s all about influencing, persuading and capturing hearts and minds. You need a professional communication cadre whose job it is to do that, in the same way it’s HR’s job to formulate policies.”
- Remember good communication is two-way. Be attentive. Find out about communication channel preferences or front of mind-communication concerns quickly and easily using a Pulse Survey. If you want to explore bigger issues the best measure is a full employee engagement survey to reveal perceptions and motivators related to managers, leadership, personal goals and the organization overall.
About Patricia Bell Newson
A graduate of Canada’s leading Journalism Degree program, Patricia Bell Newson is an accomplished writer and communications specialist. As a key member of the TalentMap team, Pat leads the company’s thought leadership with full force producing weekly content on employee engagement and best practices in employee surveys. Pat’s experience in advising leaders on strategic approaches to sensitive issues, priorities, and policies together with her ability to research and easily grasp various concepts regarding the workplace has been a great asset in creating valuable insights for HR leaders.
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