Recently there has been some discussion in social media as to how technology has changed the HR profession with respect to communication. With the changes in how people work, their role vis-à-vis working remotely, along with the competitive business climate, HR departments are learning that poor communication channels are impacting the bottom line. As HR professionals we can do three things to improve communication.
Communication is often sporadic with conflicting messages. While organizations attempt to share information with their employees and want their staff to be given the tools to complete their daily tasks, a lack of consistent communication is hindering their ability to be successful. Effective communication is very important and employers must invest time and energy into building and establishing clear and consistent methods. One of the most common communication problems in the workplace and solutions are poorly written documents, policies and procedures or announcements. Poorly written communication pieces will cause confusion, inhibit success and foster frustration amongst the employees. To correct this challenge HR must always proofread the documents before distributing the final product. It is also important to have the various stakeholders review and agree with content prior to its release.
Improve Internal Communication
Many companies with internal communications challenges have them because internal communication with employees can often be overlooked or seen as being less important than external communications. By keeping your employees informed from the company’s management team versus external sources (i.e., the media) confusion can be reduced and false information disseminated to the employees can be mitigated. The easy solution is to over-communicate, do not assume that employees understand the business decisions that are made and always keep employees informed when you have a major announcement to make or have to react to bad news. Whenever possible, tell them before you tell an external audience.
Use Technology in Moderation
Organizations are utilizing internal social networks more extensively. These tools enable the sharing of information and best practices. E-mails, instant messages, and other communications can be easily forwarded; however, messages are often not reframed for the individual or team to whom the message is directed. This lack of customization can foster confusion and damage the credibility of the author. Using technology to communicate is very efficient; however, it does not give the same warm feeling as being connected personally. Technology oriented connections are less meaningful and lack the human need to connect. Organizations must understand that technology can have damaging effects. An over-reliance on technology can lead to people feeling isolated, and this can lead to challenges at work. To take advantage of all the benefits that technology in communication offers, it is crucial to ensure that organizations implement policies and guidelines for how technology should be used to communicate.
Using the existing communication channels at your company along with conducting an employee survey to evaluate your communication challenges and successes is an easy way to assess and evaluate your strategy for the future.