Employee engagement can be difficult to foster. Only 32% of employees in the US are actively engaged in the workplace. So, what’s the best way to improve employee engagement?

Well, there are a number of initiatives you could try. You could introduce rewards for high achievers. Or implement wellness programs to help your staff manage their physical and mental health. Maybe you’d even consider broadening your benefits packages to include creative perks like puppy adoption leave.

Whatever you try, there’s one thing all of these have in common: the HR department would be responsible for announcing them. And how the message is sent is crucial to how it’s received.

The Importance of HR Communications

The HR department sits at the heart of every organization. While other departments play an equally vital role in their own individual ways, everyone interacts with the HR team in their everyday operations. That’s why getting HR communications right is essential.

Connecting employees

Whether it’s rolling out news updates via the company intranet or making sure everyone is in the know about new benefits programs, effective HR communications function as an organization’s neural network. They seamlessly connect employees across multiple departments.

One big advantage of this sense of interconnectedness is that it can help foster a sense of community and belonging in the workplace. Regular, consistent messaging makes sure that every employee is well-informed and aligned with the company’s values and objectives.

Building trust

Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy employee-employer relationship. Building it takes time, but if HR communications are transparent and consistent, it’s a great start.

Your employees need to know that you’re serious about creating a space where everyone feels valued. This not only means investing in development and human capital management (HCM) but also getting the message across that you’re committed to it. HCM HR communication is a core element of the process and has to take an honest and objective approach.

Sharing both successes and challenges openly demonstrates organizational integrity and commitment to truthfulness. It’s absolutely crucial that employees feel they’re receiving the complete picture, not just positive news. It fosters an environment where trust and reliability can truly thrive.

Spreading knowledge

Whatever your employees need to know about that’s not directly related to their role, it’s likely they hear most of it through HR messaging. It plays a pivotal role in disseminating essential information throughout your organization.

Whether it’s about policy updates or instructions on how to make a conference call securely, the HR department is responsible for much of the day-to-day communication. This ensures that employees are aware of any changes happening within the company.

The result is a well-informed workforce that can make better decisions, which in turn boosts overall productivity and efficiency.

Contributing to company success

Effective communication contributes significantly to the success of a company. When employees understand their role and the impact it has on operations, it fosters a sense of purpose as well as dedication to the shared objectives.

HR communications are instrumental in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Clarifying expectations
  • Celebrating achievements
  • Recognizing accomplishments
  • Providing constructive feedback

These are all crucial elements that drive employees to contribute positively.

Boosting motivation

Your team’s motivation is inextricably linked to how good your communication is. HR plays a vital role in inspiring and energizing employees through strategic communications. Highlighting opportunities for professional development, as well as sharing the company’s vision and success stories, are vital. Doing these things encourages employees to up their game and try to reach new heights. With 6 in 10 employees quiet quitting, this is more important than ever.

Again, it comes back to how important it is that employees feel valued. Among other things, HR has a critical role to play in making sure everyone knows about growth opportunities within the organization. This helps motivate your staff and boosts morale.

Types of HR Communication

When we think about communication, it’s important to remember it’s not all one-way. How communication happens within any company varies depending on the direction of the message.

Downward: This is probably the first type of messaging we think of when the concept of HR communication crops up. It’s messaging that comes from the top and is sent out to employees. This would include instances such as the head of HR emailing everyone in the company to update them on employee development plans or benefits packages.

Upward: Just as crucial is upward communication. This happens any time someone contacts a more senior staff member in the same line of command. For HR, one of the most important versions of this is employee feedback (of which more later).

Horizontal: Communication between employees of equal status on different teams. When a sales manager reaches out to their opposite number in the tech team for help with a project, that would be an example of horizontal communication.

Diagonal: This is when a member of staff communicates with someone more senior but outside of their direct line of management. This is perhaps less common than the other types, but it’s not particularly unusual either. It can happen if, say, two different teams are collaborating on a project, and the junior member of staff has responsibility for a specific task.

The key point about this is that the HR department’s policy must take account of the direction of messaging. That’s because it has an influence on how best to frame the communication. For instance, it might be appropriate to invite everyone to an enterprise meeting for an important announcement about changes in senior management. But it’s probably not the best way to go about eliciting employee feedback, which it should be possible to give anonymously.

Top Tips for Improving HR Communication

With that in mind, here are a few best practices for effective HR communication.

Get employee feedback

Let’s start here. Constructive feedback from employees is a very valuable way of improving HR communication strategies. Seek out your staff’s opinions on how effective, relevant, and clear your current communication channels and messages are.

How best to do this? Well, it’ll partly depend on how big your organization is and how it’s structured. If you have a fairly small team that you know is bursting with ideas, even something as simple as a suggestion box artfully placed next to the coffee machine can get you off to a great start. It’s simple, easy, and, best of all, completely anonymous.

At some point, though, you should definitely consider a more formal approach. Take advantage of surveys to gather insights directly from employees. You can also use one-on-one meetings or focus groups to stimulate discussion. Once again, bear in mind people are less likely to be openly critical when they put their name to a statement.

However you do it, you’re likely to get some comments that you weren’t expecting. That’s exactly why feedback is so useful. It helps to identify areas for improvement and also makes employees feel heard at the same time.

Focus on effective onboarding

First impressions count. A robust onboarding process is crucial for seamlessly integrating new hires into your company. During onboarding, new employees get their first idea of how everything works in your organization.

At this point, clear and supportive communication is indispensable because it sets the tone for everything that comes later. Make sure that every aspect, from the onboarding material to any initial coaching sessions, is easily accessible and provides all the necessary information.

Engaging new hires from the outset through effective communication is the best way to set the course for a fruitful and long-lasting relationship of trust.

Create a document library

Rather than issuing documentation piecemeal, make a repository so that all staff can access it easily. Having a centralized document library ensures that employees can easily find all essential HR documents and policies.

This resource needs to be well-organized, which means it should be searchable and regularly updated. The additional upside of this is that it saves the HR team time as well because they won’t have to continually respond to new requests for the same individual documents over and over again.

Encourage transparency

Although it can sometimes be tempting to bury bad news, try to resist doing this. Transparency in communication fosters trust and engagement among employees, whereas obfuscation generally achieves the opposite.

HR should take the lead in cultivating a culture of openness where information is shared freely and questions are encouraged. It’s vital to avoid withholding information unnecessarily; instead, be forthcoming about sharing all sorts of updates and future plans.

Being transparent also means acknowledging mistakes and learning from them, of course. But that’s a good thing because it strengthens the trust employees place in the organization.

Use tech tools

All of this is much easier to implement if you embrace the most up-to-date tools. For example, collaboration platforms can help you align sales and support teams to improve horizontal messaging and deliver a more cohesive customer experience.

You can also take advantage of instant messaging apps and video conferencing software for more general announcements. Tech tools can significantly improve the speed and efficiency of communication, particularly in large companies where it can otherwise be a bit of a challenge.

In short, implementing these tools creates a more connected and responsive workplace where information flows smoothly.

Supercharge Engagement With Best Practices

Never underestimate the role of HR communication in engaging employees. It creates a solid foundation upon which everything else rests. When your HR department gets its messaging on point, employees feel valued and are much more likely to contribute positively to the team.

By following the best practices set out here, you can achieve exactly that. Clear and consistent communication is the number one way to take your organization to new heights of success.

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