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As we continue this series on the Future of HR, let’s review the second critical skill needed by HR professionals, just like you, to be successful going forward. You can review skill #1 (HR Metrics) here.

As a reminder: the future of HR needs three critical skills to continue the journey from “personnel department” to “getting a seat at the table” to ultimately, being an HR profit center and delivering results to the business. Are you ready to heed the call?

Skill 2: Employee Communications

Current State

“Employee communications” is a fairly new concept. So new, that when I launched my first employee communications department in 2004, the VP, Corporate Communications had absolutely no idea what I would be doing. While official employee communications departments or experts may still be emerging, the idea behind this skill set is nothing new.

At the end of the day, employee communications is all about connecting and engaging effectively with your employees and your people. The misconception is that “employee communications” is only focused on how emails get sent out or how we push messages out to our employees – that’s a small part of effective communications.

Employee communications is all about connecting and engaging effectively with your employees #HR Click To Tweet

In many companies, employee communications is referred to as internal communications or corporate communications – often led by people with a communications or a public relations background; not HR based. But this structure is what is proving to be ineffective and provides you, a key talent HR professional, with ample opportunity to deliver with impact in the future of HR.

Future of HR

As HR continues to evolve, being able to effectively connect with your employees will be the difference between a successful HR program and one where HR is no longer seen as valuable. Making this more difficult is the multi-generational workforce, varied channels to reach your employees and a usually behind-the-technology-ball workforce that doesn’t allow for agile communication change.

Connecting w/ your employees is the difference btwn a successful #HR program & a defunct one Click To Tweet

While most of these future programs can be a serious roadblock when trying to communicate to your employees, it also puts you squarely in the position to shift your employee communications strategy from “communicating at” to “connecting with.” And being in HR, there is no one more qualified to make this happen.

As communication technology continues to change, communications written in AP Style or “within corporate brand guidelines,” will fail. Messages that are delivered only by email or through leadership cascade, will fall on deaf ears – you will be ignoring large pockets of your organization, vastly diminishing your capability to get any work done.

Shift your employee communications strategy from “communicating at” to “connecting w/ Click To Tweet

Why This is a Critical Skill

Employee communication – having your employees feel connected to your company, knowledgeable about what’s going on, and engaged around your company’s mission is paramount to every single thing you do in HR each day. When you’re able to build relationships with the people you serve, they buy into what HR is delivering.

The resistance isn’t as strong. It no longer feels like you’re yelling into a black hole email after email.

Instead, your employees trust what HR is saying and doing – ready to join forces with you to move forward. The HR credibility factor will be the highest it has ever been in the history of HR.

The above impact, while focused acutely on HR, does not tell the whole story. By improving employee communication, the impact extends well beyond HR with far-reaching positive implications. When you build a strong rapport/relationship with your people, other groups and senior leaders will be clamoring to understand how you do it. They will want to replicate your success, or likely, ask you to partner with them on projects they deem important. Further elevating HR and your skill set, to make a positive impact on the business.

Being able to build relationships, connection and engagement with your employees will set you apart in the future of HR, and help elevate HR’s success at the same time.