According the Mathew French, General Manager at Subscribe-HR, how HR communicates really depends on the context and the content of the communication and needs to be considered on multiple levels.
What's the best way for the Human Resources department to communicate to employees, email, meetings or something else?
The best way for HR to communication with employees changes depending on the situation and the context. If you look at the communication of admin related tasks around compliance, then the most efficient way for HR Professionals to do this is through an HR solution that automates all these processes and sends reminders directly to employees via email. Taking this to the next level, smart solutions that offer self-service also enable HR Professionals, Managers and employees alike, to then access their own records and make the necessary updates or carry out compliance related activities without having to go via the HR department. This means less paper pushing, greater empowerment, and a more streamlined and compliant workforce. It also means that all parties involved have more time to focus on business critical priorities and innovation because they spend less time being consumed by administrative tasks.
Then, if you consider the context of communicating HR data and analysis to the wider business, including Senior Management and the Leadership team, there are various channels by which information can be communicated. Of course, having accurate data and analytics at your fingertips makes this process easier because if you have the right tools, you can access reports at the click of a mouse. These reports can then be shared with colleagues automatically via email but you also have the option to then go and meet with the relevant people to tell the story behind the statistics, which further embeds their relevance to your business. When communicating about data, a lot of people forget the importance of making the figures come alive and painting a picture of their context. This is where more personalised, group presentations become important, for example.
Outside of the processes and tasks that are inherently admin or reporting focused, it is important that HR Professionals take the time to connect personally with employees about what is going on in the workplace. Whether that relates to sharing business strategy and direction, finding out about what’s behind performance issues, or welcoming a new starter, what people really value, is personal contact. This is also the best way to create an engaged and happy workforce. There are some socially oriented HR platforms out there in the market that have moved towards taking the idea of being more personal into a solution type scenario, but that will never replace the ‘human’ in Human Resources. The Human Era report makes it clear, for example, that this kind of personal contact is more important than ever. So anything the HR department can do to free themselves from the administrative burden of staying on top of the massive amounts of data the HR function requires, will go a long way towards making more personalised contact a reality. That’s why Human Resource Management Software was created - to remove the admin burden. It’s also Subscribe-HR’s reason for being. We provide HR Professionals with the tools they need to be free of the administrative burden that HR entails, so that they have the time to put the ‘Human’ back in Human Resources.
Do you think that employees, generally speaking, feel that their HR department is accessible?
HR departments are under a lot of pressure. Just in the area of compliance their workload has increased exponentially in order to keep up with regulations. The very fact that many HR Professionals spend 25-50% of their time doing admin means that they don’t have the time to go and connect with employees. It is a common cry amongst HR Professionals that they wish they could be free of spreadsheets and admin so that they can go do what they got into HR for in the first place - that is, to be a people person, or to really make a significant and valuable contribution to overall business strategy. On the flip side of that - employees obviously feel the lack of engagement from the HR department, just as much as the HR department is aware of this issue. It is impossible not to. Being accessible by email and communicating in that way only goes so far. What really matters is personal contact, real engagement. Again, this is a challenge that most HR Professionals face, but it is also one that is much easier to overcome given that intelligent Human Resource Management Software really is an enabler for freeing HR Professionals from admin overload, so that they can engage their employees on a more personal level.
Have you got any general advice for HR practitioners related to communicating with employees?
Like all things, it’s good to have a coherent strategy around how to communicate in any given context. However, real life is rarely that clean and simple. Obviously, if there is a simple and efficient way to take care of processes, compliance and admin related tasks in a way that’s automated and essentially makes your admin load evaporate, then why would you not want to implement that option? The same goes with keeping accurate tabs on the data and information you need to analyse and report on for the wider business. If there are solutions that enable you to create a repository of all your HR data and then query and report on that, not just in the context of HR Metrics, but in a more in depth manner so that you can glean more insight from your analytics, then again, it makes sense on multiple levels to implement such tools. Now more than ever, big data analytics capabilities are at the forefront of business requirements from the HR Department, so it makes sense to use tools that give you accurate, elegant reports at the click of a mouse and distributes them to colleagues and Management automatically. Then, in the context of the human touch, which is what most employees want from their HR Department, well it’s a matter of getting out there amongst your people and making those connections. The key is to make the time to be able to do such things. I would say that’s it’s definitely possible to make this dream a reality, but it requires the right tools. Tools that give HR Professionals the peace of mind that ‘business’ is being taking care of, so that they are free to be the people person they’ve always wanted to be. That is what Human Resource Management Software is for. That’s what Subscribe-HR is about.
Subscribe-HR is Australia's a leading provider of cloud based e-Recruitment and Human Resource Management Software for medium sized enterprises. The company creates Enterprise, People Loving Technology and states "Our reason for being is simple. We provide simple, elegant, easy-to-use Human Resource Management Software that makes it possible for HR Professionals to do more of what they love, and less of what they don’t. "
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