Most organizations realize communication is key. But how many understand that communication applies to not only their clients, but their own employees and departments, too? The best companies are adept at creating an open and clear dialogue between HR, management and other divisions within the organization. This is a crucial skill – without it, efficiency would drag, employee morale could sink and overall productivity would suffer. Fortunately, communication is easy. It starts by following these five steps:
1. Remember dialogue is a two-way street
A conversation doesn’t consist of one person talking and another person sitting there quietly. It’s a discussion – the act of sharing ideas and information. That’s how HR professionals should think of their company wide communication. It can’t just be management or HR delivering information, it must allow for the rest of the company to respond. Not only will this create a true flow of conversation, it’s just good business – employee feedback is a valuable tool that can be used to help improve the entire business. In addition, Inc. reported that 91 percent of employees who understand their role in the organization will work for its success, whereas only 23 percent of those who don’t understand their role will do the same.
“Communication can’t just be management or HR delivering information.”
2. Practice what you preach
What good does solid communication do if the people in charge don’t follow their own advice? Transparency is an important aspect of a successful organization, but it also requires that when employees see through the window they find something inspiring – not a bunch of managers laughing and slacking off. Employees will respond if they know their higher-ups are doing at least as much as, if not more than, what they themselves are asked to do. In other words, when HR professionals reach out, make sure everyone in the company is held to the same standards.
3. Consider the physical layout of the office
Nowadays, communicating means sending off an online chat or an email. Speaking on the phone is reserved for clients, while text messaging has no place in the office. But what of good, old-fashioned, face-to-face chats? If the building is laid out in such a way that nobody sees or speaks to anyone else, communication will suffer. Cubicles, isolated offices and separate departments tend to exacerbate the issue. By shuffling a few desks around and encouraging individuals to get up, move around and pay their peers a visit, the organizations will have a stronger sense of community and dialogue.
4. Start a company blog and bring attention to it
Rather than constantly sending out company wide emails just to communicate tips, tricks or upcoming events, HR professionals might consider keeping up a company blog where that information can be found. According to Your Velocity, there are a few ways to customize this content to better reach the organization. For example, authors can include pictures, separate client-facing and internal posts, or call upon contributors from different departments.
5. Don’t dive into large-scale changes
If HR professionals feel the need to work with IT to upgrade the company’s Intranet, they should take it slow and make only the smallest change necessary. Tearing the thing down and starting all over again might seem like a way to accomplish a better communication system, but it will likely cause confusion and stifle dialogue rather than promoting it. Mark Jones on LinkedIn Pulse recommends baby steps – make a minor change, see how it improves the process and take it from there.
These are not the only ways to improve communication, but they’re a great starting place – and may be all a company needs. Communication is essential for any successful organization, especially those with a globally mobile workforce, and it should be the top of every HR team’s list of priorities.