The modern HR department is responsible for a wide array of business-critical tasks and initiatives. They handle things including recruitment, employee development and support, and myriad other workforce management tasks. They're also professionals who are almost guaranteed to interact with every other employee at some point in their service to a company.
For that reason, keeping clear lines of communication to employees in every division and department of the business is one of the most vital aspects of fulfilling the demanding HR role in an organization. It's also something HR departments have historically struggled with for various reasons. Part of it is due to the sheer scope of the information HR has to impart to employees, and another has to do with the quantity and variety of queries that tend to come into HR from employees in different parts of the company.
Since getting communications right is an essential part of the modern HR mission, here are four areas of focus to keep information flowing smoothly in and out of HR to support its' crucial business role.
Maintaining an open-door policy
While it should be obvious, the first and most important part of establishing solid lines of communication between HR and the broader workforce is for HR to commit itself to listen. The best and easiest way to make sure that happens is to establish an open-door policy that encourages employees to seek out answers from HR whenever they need them. It will also create more trust within the work environment, and also help to prevent small issues from turning into much larger HR headaches, such as diffusing interpersonal conflicts before they short-circuit an entire department.
Keep HR-speak to a minimum
One of the stumbling blocks in the communication between HR departments and the employees they serve is the types of language used within that communication. For example, an HR professional may understand what behavioral competencies and the Hawthorne Effect are, but a rank-and-file employee will not. All too often, HR professionals are guilty of filling important messages with HR-speak that won't convey a clear message to those outside of the department. This leads to confusion and poor information uptake, which can stymie HR initiatives and cause duplicative work for staff. The bottom line is, make all communications clear, concise, and jargon-free.
Create an information and communications hub
Nothing harms communication more than the difficulty in understanding where to turn when you have a question. To make sure that's not the case, it's advantageous to set up a central point through which all HR information and communications flow. Today, that's best accomplished via online platforms like Groupe.io, which provide HR with everything from secure filesharing to individual and group chat capabilities. They're also capable of managing employee surveys, tracking employee engagement, and even support AI-powered chatbots that can augment human staff by answering employee questions on the fly.
Focus on variety and accessibility
Another central part of maintaining excellent communication between HR and employees is for HR to recognize that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. That means that the most effective type of communication with one group of employees may not match another. To deal with that, it's important to provide a variety of means for employees to assimilate important HR information and respond with any questions they might have. In practice, that could mean rolling out a new HR initiative with an introductory video, an in-depth whitepaper, and a mix of group and individualized chat sessions with whoever needs them. That allows the employees to choose their own route to understanding the topic and gives them an opportunity for direct discussions with HR staff.
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