Human resources and internal communications need to have a close relationship in organizations to ensure that employees are informed, well-supported and engaged. Effective internal communication is key to the success of many HR initiatives. These two distinct corporate functions are closely related and need to collaborate to achieve common goals.
The priorities for HR and internal comms in organizations evolve over time, and it is important to stay current with the latest developments. By keeping on top of the emerging trends for 2023, you can ensure your company is a leader in your industry and stays ahead of the curve.
The 7 key trends for internal communication and HR for 2023
In addition to the regular ways that HR and internal communications need to work together in an organization, there are key trends emerging for 2023 that will require both teams to be involved in.
1. Management and leader effectiveness
The effectiveness of management and leaders in the workplace has become a critical focus for many organizations.
In fact, according to a recent Gartner survey, 60% of HR leaders have said it is their top priority.
Quite simply the world of work has changed so much thanks to advances in technology, social upheaval and other shifts in the business landscape that it is crucial for companies to tailor their approach to leadership to maintain an edge over their competitors.
HR and internal communications have complementary roles in enhancing leader and manager effectiveness. HR focuses on the development of managers and leaders, while an emerging internal communication trend is to ensure the leaders have the necessary support, information and communication tools to succeed in their roles.
2. Continuous learning and skills development
The labor market is quite precarious, and in an era where people are “quiet quitting” or taking part in the “great resignation” it’s more important than ever for companies to be able to not only attract top talent, but to also retain it.
One of the best ways to do this is to provide ongoing opportunities for employees in the evolving work landscape by giving them the opportunity to upskill and reskill. By focussing on creating cultures of continuous learning, HR departments can help the company stay competitive. Internal communications can promote these initiatives and opportunities so that employees are aware of their learning and development options throughout their lifecycle with the company.
3. The merging of HR and PR
What happens inside companies is becoming increasingly public as a result of social media. While you may have social media policies that tell people what they can and cannot say about the company online while they are employed by the company, in reality this won’t necessarily protect the company if and when it does happen and the company is portrayed in a negative light. It also won’t shield the company from negative portrayals by former employees.
There have been a number of high profile instances of this on social media in recent times, including internal policies and communications being shared with the outside world. It’s important for HR and comms to be on the same page when communicating with employees to ensure that words are carefully managed.
4. New ways of looking at work-life balance
The concept of work-life balance has been redefined since the pandemic suddenly changed the ways that many people work, forever. Many workers now have new levels of balance between their work and personal lives - but many companies have also wound some of these changes back.
What has become clear is that companies that promote work-life balance, offer genuine flexibility and priorities health and wellbeing are more likely than those who don’t to attract the top talent in their industries, and also retain them. HR departments cannot turn a blind eye to this employee communication trend.
When you have work-life balance initiatives in place in your organization, it’s important that they are communicated well and are communicated in an ongoing manner.
5. Driving and embedding environmental, social and governance practices
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are an emerging focus for businesses around the globe and across different industry sectors. Developing and delivering an ESG policy is important for organizations to capture non-financial topics that are important to the company including climate change, resource scarcity, corporate sustainability, human capital, health and safety, ethical supply chains, transparency, ethical behavior, diversity and more.
An ESG policy is a strategic tool that helps companies navigate the changing business landscape in a way that will help them meet stakeholder expectations, drive long-term sustainability and manage risks.
HR plays a key role in developing these policies, while internal communications should develop an ESG communications strategy that ensures employees are not only informed about the company’s ESG policy, but are also actively engaged in implementing it.
6. Changing trends in HR technology
There are a number of HR technology trends that are rapidly changing, and businesses need to keep up with this evolving landscape. These technological changes affect the ways that HR departments manage people, recruit and train their workforces and in turn helps to dictate corporate communication trends.
Trends to stay on top of include AI and machine learning, advanced analytics, employee experience platforms, automation of routine tasks, new and emerging remote work and collaboration tools, blockchain technology for HR security and emerging ethical AI and data privacy requirements.
It’s important for internal communications and HR departments to continue to engage with employees as they use any new technological tools and address issues promptly, keeping them updated on enhancements and improvements to the system.
7. New data risks created from personalization
Personalization in HR has become a key HR and internal communication trend in recent years, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon. Many organizations have been using emerging technologies like artificial intelligence assistance, wearables, analytics and other systems to collect data about their employees so that they can deliver tailored and optimized employee experiences to them.
The flip side of this is that companies have been capturing a lot of sensitive and personal data about their employees including about their health, living conditions, family situations and mental health. There is great potential in some companies for a major privacy breach that could harm both the employees, and the company itself.
Some organizations have created a “data bill of rights” for their employees to support the need for healthy boundaries as well as their overall well-being. It’s important for HR leaders to prioritize transparency about how the company collects, stores and uses any information it has on employees. It also needs to provide employees ways to opt out if they wish.
By following these tips and best practice employee communication trends you can effectively communicate your HR initiatives to your employees and help them to understand how they will benefit both them and the company:
Use a variety of channels to communicate, including email, intranet, social media
Use visuals to help employees understand your messages.
Tailor your communications to different employee audiences.
The main trends in internal communications include an increased focus on employee wellbeing, remote work support, digital engagement platforms, data-driven insights, ESG communications strategies, diversity and inclusion initiatives, personalized content, real-time feedback mechanisms and two-way communication.
What are the hot topics in internal communications?
Hot topics in internal communications include:
Remote work strategies
Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives
Hybrid work models
ESG communications strategy
Mental health support
Digital tools for engagement
Adapting to evolving workplace expectations.
What is the HR strategy for internal communication?
The HR strategy for internal communication should focus on fostering employee engagement, aligning employees with corporate goals and promoting a culture of transparency. It includes clear communication channels, feedback mechanisms, recognition of employee contributions and effective change management to support the organization's HR objectives.
What is a soft HR strategy?
A soft HR strategy prioritizes the people-centric aspects of human resources. This includes an emphasis on employee wellbeing, personal development and work-life balance. These strategies often seek to create positive workplace cultures and encourage collaboration while supporting physical and mental health.