Elevating Your HR Communication Strategy: From Good to Great

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Mar 13, 2024
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For small business owners, understanding the essentials of an HR communication strategy is pivotal. A well-crafted strategy elevates company culture, boosts employee engagement and directly influences higher revenues. 

Good HR communication aims to either inform or inspire, equipping employees with necessary information, fostering loyalty and highlighting their value to the company. In essence, a strategic approach to HR communication is not just about passing on information; it's a critical component in building a thriving workplace where employees are engaged and motivated.

RELATED: 5 Proven Tips for Building Strong Employer-Employee Relationships >>

Inform: HR Communication Strategy

In the bustling world of small business, keeping your team in the loop is crucial. Whether it's rolling out new safety protocols or announcing the annual benefits enrollment period, the way you communicate HR-related information can significantly impact your employees' understanding and engagement. Here's how to ensure your HR communications are as effective as possible:

  • Choose the Right Channel

There are numerous ways to communicate with employees. Newsletters, in-person meetings, emails and signage are all vehicles your company might use, among others, to relay information to employees. Consider in-person meetings, such as quarterly town hall gatherings, to relay more complicated, in-depth information, such as an office move. 

For recurring topics, like benefits enrollment, an annual campaign that uses multiple communication methods, including emails and printed packets, can both inform and generate excitement. And, for simple, quick changes or announcements, an email can be an appropriate channel through which to share the information employees need. 

  • Select the Best Messenger

    Regardless of your company’s size, not all HR communications need to come from you, the small business owner. Evaluate the content. Safety messages, for example, might best come from a head of operations or a facility manager. 

    Upcoming holiday announcements, recognizing service anniversaries or the announcement of an employee engagement survey are all examples of communications that could be delivered by department heads, an office manager or an HR director if your company has this person on staff.  

As part of your HR communication strategy, even for small businesses, look for opportunities for communications to come from someone other than yourself.

Major announcements, such as a company reorganization, may rightfully need to come from you, but the advantage of spreading out information dissemination is that it demonstrates other company leaders’ support and makes it easier for team members to approach someone they work with regularly if they have questions.  

RELATED: How an Employee Relations Strategy Supports Your Company Culture >>

  • Be Clear and Transparent

    At times, there may be information you cannot disclose to everyone. However, it is important to be as open and clear as possible when sharing information about changes in policies, benefits or other HR topics. 

Review your draft communication and anticipate questions employees at all levels of the organization may have. Would additional transparency in the HR communication address some of these questions? Be clear. Confusing or vague communication breeds distrust and suspicion. 

    • Vague message example

      “We are adding several new benefits focused on your well-being.” 
    • Clear message example

      “We are launching two new mental health benefits that provide free counseling sessions, as well as on-demand virtual counseling opportunities. This is just one way we are committed to each employee’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as to physical and financial health.” 
  • Avoid Communication Overload

    In a small business, an abundance of communication sent to employees does not automatically result in more understanding or greater adoption of an initiative. Assign someone to plan and track the schedule of HR internal communications. Start by communicating as much information as possible and relevant up front so important details aren’t being distributed piecemeal. 

Review the frequency and cadence of communication with employees. Combine updates as appropriate by including several in a single weekly email. Communication overload is real and, while it’s usually better to overcommunicate than under-communicate, remember that not every change or update requires immediate communication to employees.

A big part of your HR communication strategy lies in determining what’s most important for workers to know and scheduling communications so they will pay attention when information lands in their inboxes. 

  • Use Multiple Technologies

    For many companies, emails become the over-used, default communications channel. Mix up the technologies used to reach employees. Incorporate polling mechanisms to generate instant employee feedback and track sentiment.  

Use brief videos to deliver messages with more of a personal touch than written communication can provide. Video also allows you to engage others in sharing important information. Company mobile apps are another way to reach a dispersed workforce that may not have access to a computer. In some companies, texts may also be acceptable. 

trust in theh workplace

Inspire: HR Communication Strategy

While informing is an ongoing process, there are also moments when your HR communication strategy should be designed to inspire your employees. Inspired employees go the extra mile and ultimately drive better results. 

HR-related events that offer opportunities to inspire employees include promotions or other recognitions, new training that increases team members’ skills, announcements of employee-focused initiatives and any times when you need to rally your workforce to deliver successful outcomes. 

When developing HR communications that inspire: 

  • Establish Goals

    To set the appropriate tone and choose the language you’ll use in your communication, think about the outcomes you want to generate. For example, if you’re announcing a new community service program and want to encourage employee excitement and involvement, inspire team members by providing examples of how much fun they’ll have working together and how their contributions of time and talent will be meaningful both for them and for the people and organizations they’ll serve. After the initiative has begun, share feedback so employees can understand the differences they made. 
  • Strengthen Company Culture

    When your employees aren’t at work, how do you want them to describe your company’s work environment to family and friends? Use big and small inspirational company announcements to build or reinforce a strong company culture. Incorporate messages tied to your company’s purpose, mission statement and values. When using communications to inspire employees, remind them what the company stands for and how they play a part in bringing the company’s vision to life every day. 

RELATED: How to Create a Positive Culture that Drives Performance >>

  • Celebrate and Incorporate Recognition

    Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. As a standalone or follow-up to company announcements, identify and call out employees or departments that are achieving designated goals or going the extra mile to get results. An HR communication strategy that recognizes employees can motivate others to deliver more, too. 

As new initiatives’ key milestones are achieved, use internal communications to celebrate. Celebrations as part of HR internal communications create positive momentum within your organization.  

how to resolve conflict between two employees

Elevate Your HR Communication Strategy

Every small business faces the continuous challenge of communicating with its employees. This spans from conveying basic process changes and announcing new benefits to extending an invitation to the annual holiday party. The foundation of a robust HR communication strategy lies in identifying the purpose of your message: are you simply informing your employees or seizing an opportunity to inspire them?

Once this is established, the guidelines provided earlier can assist you in navigating the complex landscape of employee communication.

By strategically planning your communications, you can prevent overload, celebrate company successes and enhance employee engagement. These actions not only inform but also inspire, creating a more cohesive and motivated workforce.

For specialized support in developing and implementing an effective HR communication strategy—encompassing employee surveys, organizational development, workforce planning, change management and more—consider partnering with Axcet HR Solutions.

Our team comprises certified HR consultants who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. With Axcet HR Solutions, you can ensure your small business's communications are clear, open, and relevant, fostering a positive and productive work environment. Schedule a consultation today to find out how our experts can help.

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