Compared to nearly every other department in your organization, effective communication within your HR team is critical to the success of the rest of the business. That’s because a good Human Resources team acts as a “central nervous system” of the larger entity—widely sharing information, acting as liaisons between employer and employees and supporting the rest of their coworkers.
On any given day, you might be explaining company policy to new sales hires, covering the new benefits package with the marketing team or arranging a meeting to discuss new objectives with executives. This is why the most effective HR professionals use a number of communication tactics to fit their current situation.
To help you learn how to sharpen your communication skills with your fellow employees, we’ve included some of the most valuable strategies for HR personnel to include in their communications toolbox.
And while you’re here, be sure to check on the top 5 global trends affecting HR today.
Explore new technology
In an era of better and faster technology, the first step to boosting your HR team’s communication is educating yourself on the many tech advancements that are at your disposal. From informal chat channels to automated emailing, there are almost too many tools to choose from, which can make deciding on a single one difficult. Researching which tool will best serve your existing communication needs is essential to minimizing overhead costs and keeping your communication strategy simple.
For instance, many HR teams looking for a smarter approach to phone conversations have started by learning more about a technology known as VoIP. Defined as a collective of technologies capable of transmitting voice calls through the internet, VoIP helps HR teams improve internal communication by allowing its users to communicate via an internet-based cloud. This difference makes it possible for you to have conversations through your laptop, tablet or work computer, all with the added benefits of broadband internet quality and speed. VoIP is a great solution for HR teams who are in constant correspondence with remote employees in other countries, and it also works well for businesses that offer flexible work benefits for their Human Resources department.
Similar to VoIP, tools like HR software suites are another piece of technology that many businesses are still uncovering the full potential of. This is because HR management solutions offer a multitude of features to fully embody the tasks that Human Resource staff are responsible for. When it comes to improvements in communication, HR software helps by creating a single, designated digital space for sharing information (through files, documents and messaging). And by using a platform with a cloud database, you’ll be able to access this information from anywhere and any device with an internet connection
Use active listening and EQ
Great communicators know that so much of their skill lies not in how they speak but rather how they listen. Listening demonstrates that you are attentive to the thoughts and feelings of the other party. Because of the demands of HR—where you are often speaking with employees on critical topics—it is also one of the most important communication tools to develop.
Active listening in the workplace is a specific communication style that many managers and leaders have adopted to build stronger personal relationships with those they oversee. The purpose of active listening is to not only understand what the person is conveying with their language but to also show that you care about what they are saying. To do this, you can repeat or summarize what the person is saying as they speak, mirror their body language or posture and (most importantly) meet them on the communication channels they prefer. As an example, a younger employee may be comfortable raising an internal issue to you through a chat message, whereas older employees might prefer a confidential, in-person meetup.
The most important aspect of any active listening strategy is to guide your responses with emotional intelligence, or EQ. Similar to other intelligence gauges, EQ is the measured capacity to control both your emotions and the feelings of others. The reason why emotional intelligence is critical to your performance in HR is because of the nature of many of these conversations you will partake in. When sharing confidential or personal information with you, your fellow employees should feel comfortable and respected in your presence. Human Resources is all about people—and leading your team with emotional intelligence will help you gain respect and admiration from employees who knock on your door.
Encourage feedback cycles
So often, businesses rely on feedback through evaluations that flow downward—from the manager to those being managed. As the mediator between leadership and the rest of the company, your job in HR is to encourage everyone to both provide and receive constructive criticism.
A feedback cycle or loop is, as the name implies, the philosophy that hearing every person’s perspective is valuable for continual improvement in the organization. Feedback cycles from each level of the business, only to make its way back up the chain of command. Oftentimes, successful feedback loops are difficult to create because employees may fear the repercussions of speaking candidly about those above them or the business at large. When this is the case, it’s the responsibility of your HR team to create lasting changes to company culture and prove the value of each voice, regardless of position.
Shifts in company culture can take a long time, but there are some simple strategies you can employ to see immediate results. To give employees a completely anonymous platform for sharing their suggestions for areas of improvement, you might consider sending out a carefully crafted survey to gauge organizational engagement and satisfaction through an online questionnaire system. Removing any personal identifiers can help encourage employees to write on their honest experiences at the company, which is crucial for any meaningful insights. And just because the name is removed from each survey doesn’t mean you can’t collect other identifiers—by asking for the department and the number of years invested into the company, you’ll be able to pinpoint specific issues without sacrificing anonymity.