Here are seven reasons HR needs to ensure they have a hand in all employee communications, especially during difficult times.
Previously we explored whether internal comms was an HR or a marketing function, and agreed that the ball should be in both courts – a shared responsibility. But how can that really work, and what is the real importance of HR’s involvement?
HR knows their employees best
Being at the forefront of difficult and often positive conversations with employees, HR will have the clear insight into what makes them tick and what kind of information they’ll find useful.
People will often go to HR when there’s a problem, but by spearheading communications and being regularly open about the good and the bad, it will build trust and open up lines of communication even further.
Be sure to involve managers and keep them in the loop about your messages so that they’re on the same page and can embody the same level of trust with their teams. This will prevent any barriers between management and human resources.
HR can help share strategic goals and plans
With their power of empathy and experience with difficult conversations and change, HR are the perfect team to help the board share their strategic goals and plans. It’s vital to have HR involved in this, as they’re the ones who will have to manage any change that is rolled out across the organisation.
This can also go both ways. Speaking with employees as often as they do and understanding the true challenges their people face means HR are the perfect option to feed back to senior stakeholders on the impact decisions are having on their people.
HR helps people feel connected and valued
Feeling valued goes beyond a salary, bonus or benefits scheme. Hearing from HR regularly can help employees to feel like they matter, and that they are well informed about what’s happening within the organisation that impacts them.
That’s not to say that senior executives shouldn’t be communicating this information – they absolutely should be, but HR can reinforce messages, while ensuring they communicate the impact on the individuals and are there to support them afterwards.
Sharing important information such as policy changes, training opportunities, team successes and changes to ‘the way we work’ makes sure that everyone feels connected and involved, which is essential for high levels of engagement.
HR is involved in performance related conversations
As they spend so much time working at the coalface of performance conversations, having involvement in appraisals and considering succession planning, your HR department are often seen as the ‘ones to impress’.
Sadly, many organisations still harbour a culture that HR are the bad guys and only get involved when something has gone wrong with the way they are performing. Opening up communications further can reduce this feeling and start to create a much more positive image of the department. It goes back to building trust and positivity.
HR is the ‘go-to’ for all queries and concerns
Possibly one of the most sought-after departments within the organisation, HR will be the first to hear if there are any problems relating payroll, annual leave, personal details and a plethora of other concerns. And while your HRMS may tackle lots of these queries, they will undoubtedly hear if something goes wrong.
Although this can be extremely time consuming and often stressful, it’s a real opportunity to ensure there is regular, reliable and accurate information being shared around salary, policies and rules, company news and other important issues. This can prevent any grey areas for employees and can put a stop to any rumour mills.
HR manages important tools in the employee’s kit
As the keyholders to the all important HR and Payroll software, human resources have ultimate control over vital personal information about your employees. This employee relationship software will be the go-to place for your people to undertake activities such as booking leave, submitting expenses, managing their personal development and much more.
Using this tool effectively means you can send messages out to your people when they log in, share online conversations about specific areas of development, push documents and new policies whenever required and so much more. It’s a platform that is used by your people, for your people, and is the perfect place for HR to communicate important messages and have open discussions.
HR needs to be a primary resource for your people
Something that HR have always struggled with is when employees rely on informal conversations with colleagues and general gossip to get the updates on what is happening within the organisation. While you won’t be able to actually get rid of these, being open and honest and communicating regularly should encourage your people to go to HR for that information and helps promote two-way conversation.
Empathy, transparency and understanding are achieved when HR is up to date on what your people are worried about. Creating a source to enable this encourages feedback and honesty. Try using your HR software as a way for people to submit comments or suggestions – not everything has to be done with a formal conversation and opening up many lines of communication should suit a diverse workforce.