Ron Shewchuk, a consultant that specializes in internal communications and employee engagement, said, “A great HR person understands the value of communication and is willing to listen to and take advice from communications colleagues.” HR leaders can always benefit from improvements to the way we interact and communicate in the workplace.
In today’s work environment, the HR leader is expected to be the primary driving force behind smooth operations and productivity. This includes several responsibilities, such as establishing or changing a company’s culture, managing changes in the organization, engaging employees, and developing leadership. For an HR leader to succeed in reaching these goals, effective communication is of paramount importance. Here are some communication problems many HR leaders face:
The conventional ways of communicating with employees may not be enough to keep them informed in the modern workplace. Often, emails sent out to update employees are not opened or received. To combat information overload and overflowing email inboxes, HR leaders need to get creative and develop alternative methods for delivering information to employees. Statistics published by WorldStream suggest that while 86% of business-oriented people use email regularly, they tend to engage more with emails on Tuesdays. HR leaders can also use data such as this to strategize the time and manner in which they communicate with employees.
Miscommunication is just as bad as no communication, and sometimes conflicting messages from leaders within the same department can cause confusion. In such scenarios, employees are often left confused at what to do, which hinders productivity and decreases unity within the organization. Therefore, HR leaders should consider ways to ensure that messages from the organization are consistent and clear.
Lack of Transparency
Transparency and an effective information flow is essential for every organization. Sometimes, information held by one branch of a company could be critical to another, so HR leaders should ensure that information flows smoothly across all departments to increase productivity and clarity. In the words of Dr. Elisa Chavez, a change and transition professional, “Employees see through communication that isn’t honest and transparent. Ask yourself, ‘what damage can we do by not being transparent?’” While maintaining privacy and security is critical, if you withhold important information from employees, it can build distrust. By being open, employees will understand what is going on organizationally and feel comfortable contributing opinions and suggestions for improvement.
Undeveloped Company Culture
In organizations with a diverse workforce, it is essential to pay attention to company culture in order to build healthy work relationships and avoid unnecessary tension. When employees feel welcome in the workplace, they will feel a sense of pride in the company and feel comfortable sharing their experiences and abilities. Leaders should be encouraged to project company culture, as their attitude trickles down throughout the organization.
It is also important to communicate company culture both internally and externally. Tammy Tsang, founder of XYBoom, said, “Communicating a strong culture externally through marketing can save a business big bucks in recruiting.” If HR leaders can communicate their company culture in a way that is welcoming, they are sure to attract diverse talent to the organization.
Lack of Information
To evaluate and improve communication strategies, HR leaders need first-hand information on what’s working—or not working—within the organization. Asking leaders and employees for input through surveys or interviews is the best way to determine an organization’s workflow strengths and weaknesses. A report has shown that the most significant reason projects fail is a breakdown in communication between leaders and employees. HR leaders can begin to help build new communication channels that will enable better performance by getting feedback from those on the front lines.
Over the past few decades, there has been a vast improvement in the tools we use to communicate. Social media, forums, instant messaging platforms, and email are all tools we use to communicate every day. HR leaders can leverage this technology to engage employees and make sure they get the company’s most important messages. WorldStream reported that 91% of people who access social media do so from their mobile phones Popular mobile social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat can be used to communicate with employees. Companies can create pages, sponsor social media campaigns, and set up blogs that employees can follow for updates and urgent news. These tools can help HR leaders reach more employees more quickly and easily.
Discouraging Work Environment
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, shared during a town hall that companies should have a culture that encourages employees to try new things and grants them an avenue to share their ideas without fear. This forward-thinking attitude promotes growth and collaboration and creates an environment in which information flows freely. By promoting a culture of openness and innovation, HR leaders can help drive a cultural shift that can lead the company and employees to substantial growth.
Companies are formed so that a group of individuals can combine their skills to build a better and more productive product or service. Teamwork is essential to the growth of every company. Companies should avoid overlooking the collaborative productivity that comes when teams work together well. HR leaders can set up training workshops that promote teamwork and collaboration to boost efficiency and collaboration.