Communication touches every area of business and employee. The importance of messaging – both in content and frequency, is key to any successful initiative and program. HR professionals should include a communication strategy and planning with all change initiatives and programs while validating that the messages have been received and understood accordingly.
Communication has also rapidly changed in terms of the manner in which the message is transmitted in order to be effective. The proliferation of communication channels, along with the changing dynamic of the workforce, requires organisations to be innovative in developing communication strategies that reach all employees in all locations. Specifically, HR has a leading role in ensuring employees are well informed and communication gaps are minimized throughout the organization. To achieve this, IMPA-HR 2020 revealed that there are at least four components to a robust communication strategy, namely connect, content, consistent, and conduit (4 Cs). Each component is highlighted below:
Focus on how the workforce connects to one another, to leadership within the organisation, and to those served outside the organisation.
IPMA-HR 2020 survey mentioned that the most widely used form of employee communication is email. Nealy 3 in 4 (71 percent) respondents do not have a communication strategy that measures communication channel effectiveness for their organisation. With three distinct generations in the workplace, communication must be made convenient, easy and natural for each group. Some are comfortable with email and telephone, while others will respond and rely on established and emerging digital technologies. There is no right or wrong approach to multi-generational marketing among employees. The key is to segment the workforce and utilize the communication channels that secure the highest response rate among them. Here are the tips:
When it comes to effective employee communications, content is king!
It is wiser to think about content before investing money in communication technology. Content is what will engage employees, thus giving a thorough consideration on what content is to be delivered, how it will be delivered and who is tasked with gathering, could develop and deploy the information better. Make sure the content of any communication is fresh, relevant, reliable, fun, engaging and time sensitive.
A communication plan should include a well thought out chain of events, including dissemination of the message to certain audiences at specific time gates. Identify all the audiences within the organisation and build a list management system to constantly update the lists for accuracy. Create the communication chain according to the most logical sequence. Build messaging that is appropriate for social platforms yet ties to the organisational objectives.
HR professionals should engage staff members who are savvy users that can craft and deliver messages for sharing, but also provide statistics to help gauge the response and interaction rates. It is important to assign a single point of contact to manage the social media platforms to ensure consistency, freshness and relevance.
To extend the communication reach, consider developing diverse communication channels designed to meet the needs of a widely multi-generational workforce.
It is important for HR professionals to be consistent and constant in messaging. Create a look/feel for all conversation that is consistent so that it is easily recognizable by employees, similar to branding. The more often people see it, the more likely they are to read and/or absorb it, and then expect it.
Investment in a multi-channel approach to communication is imperative to the success of an effective strategy. Employees want to hear, learn and share information that is provided by the organisation rather than hearing about it on the local news or from a third party outside of the organisation.
Understanding the push and pull approach to communicating helps HR professionals become reliable communicators within the organisation.
It is important for HR professionals to seek and utilize ongoing feedback to constantly innovate to help organisations stay current and relevant. While distribution of messages throughout the organisation is the push point, ensuring that the communication staff is pulling information from organisation as well is of equal importance.
There might be a certain team responsible for being the distribution point for information; however, it is imperative that all employees within the organisation see their role in the conversation strategy and implementation. HR professionals must diligently work to monitor and measure the effectiveness of communication by utilizing metrics and adjusting where necessary.
Communications commitment investment in communication requires the support of leadership. Tools, resources and commitment are required to ensure effective communication today and in the future. With digital transformation at the forefront of the future of work, the ability to communicate will continue to be the driving force to organizational success and effective HR leadership. Hence, HR professionals must prepare themselves to be strategic contributors in developing an organisational communication strategy in order to position HR as a significant driver of workforce engagement and connectivity.