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Communications – HR's best friend?

Have you ever discovered that one of your colleagues was leaving when you saw their job being advertised? Or have you been alerted to a new promotion, product or campaign when a customer started asking you questions about it?

For many employees, these are familiar experiences. And their effect? Perhaps some eye-rolling, probably some muttering, and almost inevitably a feeling that your organisation does not put "keeping employees informed" very high on the list of priorities.

There is a simple truth here – communications is not an optional extra for HR functions. It is an essential tool across the whole organisation to make sure employees are informed and engaged.

This does not have to mean dedicated communications projects – intranets or staff newsletters. Rather, there are quick, informal but important communications that keep your team motivated, educated and feeling valued.

Staff moves. Keep your staff informed of any people-related news – resignations, appointments, secondments, promotions. And make sure you do it promptly. Some companies have a specific internal advertising policy for job opportunities; but even if you do not, it is a good idea to let your staff know when and where jobs will be advertised.

Professional development. Many organisations have a terrific suite of opportunities available for employees to develop or consolidate their skills. The mistake that many of these companies make is that they fail to communicate these opportunities effectively. Professional development is a great tool for employee retention and engagement – make the most of it by making sure your employees know what is on offer.

Policies. Policies are usually not the most scintillating reading, but they are important. Empower your staff to understand their rights and responsibilities – it will make them feel more confident to manage their own working life. There are also compliance benefits for giving staff ready access to policy documents. Plus, it will help future employees, as it encourages your current team to act as mentors for new recruits.

Strategy. At the lower levels of any organisation, it can be a challenge to feel like your day-to-day activities contribute to the organisation's overall strategic direction. But helping employees make this link can help them appreciate the value of their work, building loyalty and pride. Whenever possible, share updates on your company's strategic directions, major projects and key successes with your team. It will let them know they are part of something bigger.

iHR Australia advises that communicating effectively with staff is important for engagement, retention, compliance and brand. Communication across the organisation helps to promote the company values and establish a positive culture.

iHR Australia specialises in HR Support Services and can assist organisations to better understand and engage their teams using tools such as workplace assessments, inquiries and surveys.

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