The goal of an internal communications strategy, apart from transmitting information, is to engage and motivate employees with the messages they share. As for HR, their aim isn’t just hiring people, but keeping them happy, engaged, and informed once they’re on board.
HR is the department that works the closest with an organization’s employees. In addition, they have the strongest grip on employee demographics.
This positioning enables HR to discern the proper tone for effective communication and the essential needs of its people—all of which is information from which internal comms can benefit.
Above all, working together gives IC and HR an opportunity to double down on employee engagement—among other topics—simply by realizing shared goals.
So, let’s get to it. How can internal communications and HR begin working together effectively?
1. Build a Mutual Understanding
Poor communication between different departments leads to poor culture, significantly hindering workplace happiness. The same goes for relationships at work.
Make a point of sitting down with the people in HR to talk about their tasks, problems, and achievements. You’ll see that there are several parallels between HR and internal communications. Most importantly, you're likely to realize that your challenges aren’t so different.
The line between the internal communication and human resources remit is becoming increasingly blurred. Both functions are engaging with the same audience, so it makes sense that the two departments work together. And with both departments constantly seeking a stronger voice in the boardroom, collaboration could be a real game-changer.Andrew Harvey, Director of Internal Communications, VMA Group
Idea: Organize a breakout session in which your people can get to know one another, and use it to find a topic you can tackle together. This might be something small, like a newsletter about new meeting rooms or a company hotline, but it’s a great first step to getting everybody aligned.
2. Make Structure Secondary
In the case of a company without a devoted internal communications team, collaboration with HR remains vital. But it becomes critical to focus on the communication needs and to make the formal organizational structure secondary.
In forgetting with whom the duty lies, an HR/Communications team can work collaboratively within individual areas of expertise to help develop the entire package. That includes the message, the way it's delivered, and how it looks.
Just because you have a small team doesn't mean you have to deal with inferior messaging.
3. Craft Engaging Stories, Together
All internal comms professionals know how vital it is to craft compelling stories to keep employees engaged. From newsletters to virtual employee all-hands meetings, the effectiveness of your message depends on how well comms understands the wants and needs of employees.
HR is the department that knows the most about the people within your organization. Working in tandem with HR to create compelling narratives will not only boost employee engagement, but enrich your workplace culture.
Do you need to know which hot-button issues are being discussed around the break room table that should be addressed in your next keynote?
Then ask HR.
4. Identify Your Internal Champions
If you have to introduce an unpopular company change or a significant policy, you need to leverage the power of your internal champions. These are the people within the company who exercise influence over workplace culture. They are your best resource for getting advice and publicly supporting the messaging surrounding organizational changes.
But how do you know who your internal influencers are?
This is where it's important to have a solid relationship with your HR department and collaborate with them to identify the right people.
Firstly, HR hunts for the best talent. Secondly, they know the gossip floating around the office. And thirdly, and most importantly, they're likely to have a good idea of who your real influencers are.