In a corporate setting, the human resource department usually works in close coordination with the communications unit in formulating and implementing campaigns to increase employee engagement.
HR and the corporate communications group can also work together in making announcements and publishing information that impact the employees. These may range from new policies on promotion, attendance, or job appraisal, or winning employee support on key HR issues such as training and development.
A comprehensive HR communications strategy outlines the kind of information that the communications department, in coordination with HR, will disseminate to an organization during a certain period. Without it, staff, supervisors, and department heads may be confused with certain HR policies and functions.
Crafting HR communications strategy usually involves the following steps:
1. Definition of objectives.
Formulating a communications program for the HR department starts by defining the objectives of the campaign. Determining the objectives of an employee communication effort provides both HR and corporate communication officers a clear direction on how to go about the project.
For example, HR may want to promote a new training program for employees wanting to fast track their careers and become supervisors in the near future. Other goals that the communication campaign may be designed for in this regard are increasing the level of awareness of the employees on the said program, and boosting the number of applicants and participants to the said training course.
2. Defining audiences.
The target audience must also be clearly defined in any HR communications strategy. Is the campaign targeted towards entry-level employees? Or is it geared towards workers who have spent more than five years in the company? By defining the target audience of a campaign, it will be easier for the HR and communications team to craft key messages.
3. Identifying tools.
The HR communications strategy should also outline the appropriate tools, templates, and techniques for the campaign. Traditional communication tools like flyers, brochures, and posters can be tapped for this purpose. Corporate communicators can also design a logo for the campaign to create a sense of uniformity.
Electronic communication tools such as online newsletters and email may also be tapped for an employee awareness campaign. Compared to traditional communication channels, these are more accessible and easier to maintain. For budget officers, a more important advantage is the cost-efficiency of electronic communication tools.
Communication using social media may also be considered especially for companies with a younger staff. Audio podcasts, videos, forum entries and even blogs may also be effective in communicating with a younger audience. Corporate communicators should ensure that their staff has the training or experience to develop good quality communication materials.
4. Setting a timeline.
HR and the communications team must also agree on a timeline or schedule. Would the campaign last for a few weeks, or would it be a year-long campaign? By clearly defining the timeline of the campaign, the corporate communications staff will be able to know when to create outputs. Moreover, it can keep the entire team on the same page as far as deadlines and deliverables are concerned.
Any HR communications strategy, or communications campaign for that matter, should be subjected to appraisal or evaluation. Evaluation can be done through online surveys that can get the opinion of the target audiences on the campaign that had just been concluded. Focus groups with managers and staff may also be conducted to gather information and feedback on the recently completed HR communications program.
Eventually, the feedback from the employees can guide any revision on the program that HR and communications team may incorporate in the near future.