For HR professionals, communication is a two-way process that involves top-down dissemination of HR plans and bottom-up questions from employees. When communication flows freely, employees enjoy a clear understanding of their benefits, while HR managers take in feedback on how effectively HR programs are working.
HR policies govern nearly every aspect of an employee's work experience, from the expected clock-in and clock-out time to vacation policies and retirement packages. Common examples of HR communication include:
- Employee policies and procedures: Most workplaces make HR policies and procedures readily available to employees. This information can be posted on the company's website, bulletin boards, in binders or through some other system. Workers should especially be aware of information about hiring, firing, promotions and performance evaluations.
- Performance feedback: One of the most common reasons an employee may interact with an HR professional is for routine evaluations. Ideally, an HR department has a standardized approach to sharing this information, either electronically or in person. Any system should be free of bias. If the feedback is seen as legitimate, employees are more likely to see it as fair.
- Onboarding: Onboarding involves teaching new hires about company policy. Beyond work-related training, HR professionals often spend several days bringing new employees up to speed on important policies.
Tips for Improving HR Communications
Organizations rely on HR professionals to relay important information and policy changes to employees. Effective communication can increase productivity while preventing misunderstandings. Leaders who can explain the benefits of HR plans, for example, are more likely to cultivate employee buy-in.
This point is important because employee support is critical to ensuring that employees use HR services. HR leaders can even boost office morale by implementing a few tips:
- Embrace two-way communication: Effective HR leaders listen to employee feedback as readily as they communicate HR initiatives. One way HR personnel can improve this two-way communication is to hold informal group meetings where workers can ask questions or express concerns. This simple step shows workers that their opinions are valued.
- Leverage advances in technology: Social media, videoconferences and online group platforms like Slack can provide effective means of catching workers' attention.
- Make accessing HR information easy: File folders may not be the most inviting means of storing details about HR policies, and distributing packets of HR materials can leave new hires feeling overwhelmed. Effective HR departments make pertinent HR documents readily available, often via an online portal.
- Keep HR documents easy to read: HR professionals may know industry terms, but that jargon can lead to employee confusion or even misinterpretation. If the average adult cannot quickly comprehend what you're trying to say, maybe your employees can't either.
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