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What Every HR Department Needs to Know About Internal Communication

Mikaela Kiner
As an HR professional, do you feel confident about your communication strategy for relaying news and information that affects employees? Internal communication is the sharing of information between different parts of an organization. When there isn't a strategy for internal communication, important information falls through the cracks. An effective internal communication strategy has many benefits, including:– Build credibility for HR and senior management by proactively sharing information and increasing transparency.– Increase employee buy–in for new programs, initiatives, and changes.– Mitigate risk by making employees aware of company policy and guidelines.Increase employee awareness of benefits, driving usage.– Align employees with organizational goals by sharing plans and strategies. 1. It keeps employees informed of the big pictureA common complaint from employees is that they aren't informed of changes and strategic planning occurring at higher levels. Leadership may take for granted that those who need to know are being kept informed. When employees at every level are invested in the strategic direction of their company, they can collaborate better with teams and peers who need their support. The simple act of sharing monthly or quarterly updates on company performance and goals shows respect for employees as interested stakeholders, and helps them do their jobs better.2. It includes a feedback loopDo employees feel that they have a voice with senior management? If not, your internal communication plan can do the trick.Employees should have clear avenues for sharing feedback and ideas. And, leaders need to show that they are actively listening. Asking for feedback without taking employees' input into account erodes trust.Once you have feedback, share the results and impact. If decisions go against the general tenor of the feedback, don't skirt the issue. Let employees know you take their input seriously, and explain the reasoning behind your decisions. 3. It uses multiple channels of communicationInformation overload is real. If your entire strategy consists of sending emails, people will miss important pieces of information.Don't stop sending emails, but add updates to your quarterly newsletter, intranet, or employee handbook. Make sure your handbook is easily accessible during new hire orientation. Employees should be able to search for and find policies at any time they have questions.For more sensitive issues, employees will appreciate the opportunity to discuss and ask questions at a town hall meeting or a brown bag session.There isn't one right way to manage internal communications. Midsize and large companies often have dedicated staff for internal communications separate from the HR department. Whether the job falls to HR or another team, make sure you communicate clearly when rolling out new HR initiatives.All the hard work that goes into managing benefits, vacations, sabbaticals, and engagement can fall flat if employees don't understand or know about them. When HR departments are strategic about internal communications, their work to support employees can have a stronger impact.Looking for thought partners to make sure your employees are getting the information they need? Our people operations consultants can provide insight and expertise customized to your company:
Mikaela KinerMikaela Kiner, CEO & Founder of Reverb, is a native Seattleite who's spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at iconic Northwest companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. She has an MS in HR Management with a certificate in Organizational Development and is an ICF credentialed coach. Mikaela delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands on execution. You can find Mikaela on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.