In a corporate setting, the human resource department usually works closely with the communications team to formulate and implement campaigns to increase employee engagement.
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HR and the corporate communications team can also work together to make announcements and publish information that is important for employees to know about. This could range from new policies on promotions, attendance, or job appraisals, or winning employee support on key HR issues such as training and development.
The benefits of an HR communications strategy
A company’s HR strategy should set the tone for the way that the organization operates internally which can then determine how it is seen by the rest of the world. The strategy should aim to create the various expectations of conduct by employees, set the expectation of the workplace culture and also include all the benefits, policies and procedures that employees receive or must adhere to in the conduct of their employment.
A comprehensive HR communications strategy is necessary to let people know about the HR strategy. It outlines the information that the communications department, in coordination with HR, will disseminate to an organization during a defined period of time. Without proper communication in human resources, staff, supervisors, and department heads may be confused about, or may not know about, certain HR policies and functions.
How to develop an HR communication plan
Developing an HR communications strategy usually involves the following steps:
1. Defining objectives.
The starting point of an HR communications strategy should be defining the objectives of the campaign. This provides both HR and the corporate communication team clear directions to carry out the campaign activities.
For example, the HR team may want to promote a new training program for employees wanting to fast track their careers and become supervisors in the near future. The goal of the campaign may be increasing the level of awareness of the employees about this program, and boosting the number of applicants and participants.
2. Defining audiences.
The HR communications strategy should include a clearly defined target audience. 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 teams to craft key messages.
3. Identifying tools.
The HR communications strategy should also outline the appropriate tools, templates, and techniques for the delivery of the campaign. Traditional communication tools like flyers, brochures, and posters can be used for this purpose. Corporate communicators can also design a logo for the campaign to create a sense of uniformity.
Digital communication tools such as online newsletters and email may also be used as part of an employee awareness campaign. These channels are usually cost-effective and easy to use.
Communication using corporate social media may also be considered especially for companies with younger staff. Audio podcasts, videos, forum topics and even blogs may also be effective in communicating with a younger audience.
4. Setting a timeline.
HR and comms also need to 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. It can also keep the entire team on the same page as far as deadlines and deliverables are concerned.
Any HR communications strategy, or communications campaign should be subject to appraisal or evaluation. Evaluation can be done through online surveys that can gather feedback from the target audience on the campaign material they have received. Focus groups with managers and staff may also be conducted to gather information and feedback.
Employee feedback can then be used to guide any revisions to the program that HR and communications team may incorporate in the future.
Topics to include in your human resources communication strategy
There are so many different policies, programs, benefits and initiatives in place in most organizations, they can be unnoticed or under-utilized without effective HR communication strategies in place.
Adjacent to your strategy, you can create a content plan that includes an HR calendar of activities for 2022 including the following topics:
- Communicating benefits to employees including how to maximize them.
- Providing information about compensation including bonuses, stock option plans and other remuneration.
- Reminding employees about your diversity, equity and inclusion policies and protocols including appropriate conduct in the workplace and hiring impacts.
- Developing onboarding communication tools for new employees so that they have consistent experience joining the organization and understand its culture (including online onboarding).
- Developing a schedule of learning and development opportunities and promoting them.
- Providing updates about the COVID-19 situation and how it is affecting your workplace. Do employees need to work from home? Are there mask mandates in place? Do you require them to have vaccines or booster shots? (Download our sample return to work letter from employer to employee where you can include these and some other questions).
- Reminders about the employee performance management system and communicating why it is important.
- Communicating reminders about policies and procedures.
- Employee reward and recognition.
- Job opportunities.
- Information about health and wellbeing programs.
- Information about corporate events.
DeskAlerts for HR communications
DeskAlerts is used by many companies to deliver important HR communications to their employees.
There are many tools and features that make it an ideal delivery system to ensure that they can reach employees no matter where they are.
This includes being able to deliver information straight to computer screens, bypassing the email system, and guaranteeing that the information will be seen. You can also send information to cellphones and tablets.
Information can be sent via pop-up notifications or scrolling ticker alerts. HR communications campaigns can be run visually via tools such as corporate screensavers, corporate wallpaper, digital signage displays or sending video messages.
You can schedule content in advance, or send in real time. And you can also send to different groups of employees.
DeskAlerts also enables you to send surveys, quizzes and polls so you can get feedback in real time or test employees’ knowledge. This type of surveys appears directly on the employee computer screen bypassing email which guarantees high visibility and less time for getting feedback from all employees.
Frequently asked questions
How do you develop an HR strategy?
There are a number of factors you should consider when you are developing an HR strategy for your organization. These include:
- Understanding the current needs of your business
- Identify any skills gaps in being able to fulfill these needs
- What do people contribute to the business's bottom line
- Consider the strengths, opportunities, threats and weaknesses for the organization with regard to capability
- What gaps exist between what you would like to happen and where the organization is now with staffing
- Consider factors such as training and development, building management capability, organizational development, appraising performance, employee engagement, rewards and recognition.
What is an effective HR strategy?
An effective HR strategy is one that has a strategic plan to deliver the following to the organization:
- Salaries that are competitive within the industry
- Attractive benefits packages to attract and retain employees
- Opportunities for promotion
- Ongoing training and development opportunities
- Frequent communications
- A good workplace culture
- Employee autonomy