5 Ways HR and IC Can Collaborate to Create a Superb Employee Experience
— February 28th, 2023
When employee needs or expectations change in relation to work, as they have dramatically over the past few years, leaders need to respond empathetically and quickly to mitigate attrition, disengagement, or reputational issues.
None of us can predict the future so—in the absence of fortune-telling capabilities—open communication, and collaboration is the next best thing.
They are both critical components to help positively shape the employee experience and ensure the needs and expectations of employees are consistently understood and met throughout their employment lifecycle.
The Maximus Story: Aligning Internal Comms with the Workplace Experience
With workplace evolution and transformation continuing to be a theme in 2023, the focus on people-centric leadership, and an employee experience that enables employees to bring their best selves to work, should remain a top priority for Human Resource and Internal Communication leaders alike.
Here are five ways HR and Internal Communications can collaborate effectively to ensure the employee experience is, and remains, sustainably superb while enabling positive business outcomes.
# 1. Foster open and honest communication
According to Forbes, organizations need to up the ante on what good looks like for listening to and communicating with employees in 2023. IC and HR are perfectly placed to drive and influence this with their combined people-centric focus, connections, and communication capabilities.
- Ensure the organization's communication channels are fit-for-purpose and meet the needs of your employees
- Actively create opportunities for employees' needs, concerns, and ideas to be heard without judgment or retribution
- Treat staff with respect, empathy, and intelligence when company communications are shared
- Utilize a communication champions network to use as sounding boards or proofreaders to ensure your communications resonate and hit the mark
- Ensure employees know what was done with their feedback, ideas, or concerns—or, equally, communicate a valid, honest explanation of why change didn’t occur
# 2. Be trust-led
As a Gallup Survey highlighted, trust in government and institutions hit an all-time low in 2022. This reflected an upshift in employees' trust in their employer as employees sought to find transparency and honesty elsewhere.
The benefits of employer trust are far-reaching. According to Forbes, employees who feel they have a culture of trust at work experience 74% less stress and feel 76% more engaged than those in "low-trust workplaces."
Internal Comms and HR can support one another and their organization in dealing with the key organisational trust issues head-on:
- Actively and openly address toxic behavior
- Ensure honest, respectful, and transparent communications
- Openly share and educate employees on company policies and practices
# 3. Champion one another
We’re moving into an era where collectivism rather than individualism is the route to sustainable success. We are stronger together. Since HR and Internal Communications are united in their focus on people—while being aligned to support organizational success through their people-focused work—it makes absolute sense to double-up on advocacy across and between these heart-of-the-organization functions.
Together you can:
- Establish cross-departmental communication to ensure that HR and communication departments are aware of each other's activities and objectives
- Brainstorm challenges together to broaden both sets of perspectives and insights to improve the employee experience
- Plan measurement approaches and share the people-centric data you collect with one another to inform your next steps
- Rotate your talent through secondments and cross-departmental projects to cross-pollenate expertise and insights, as well as enhance your relations and understanding of your employees, to ensure your strategies and tactics remain relevant and sustainable
# 4. Instill a culture of learning
According to a recent Microsoft study, three-quarters of employees would stay longer at a company if they could benefit more from learning and development support. Work isn’t just a means to an end or necessary duty anymore, it represents opportunity, purpose, and personal fulfillment.
Organizations that instill a culture of learning and enable their employees to build critical career-development skills will be front of the queue when it comes to talent retention too.
Employees actively want and look for employers to support their ongoing career growth. From recruitment to onboarding and throughout an employee’s active employment lifespan, HR and IC can collaborate to understand their employee needs and deliver learning and development opportunities that serve both people and businesses well.
It shouldn’t all be training program-based learning either, as there’s much to be gained from learning within a role, and learning from your peers and leaders.
HR and IC would be smart to enable a learning culture where mistakes and failures are embraced, where lessons learned are shared, and where colleagues are actively encouraged to try new approaches and ways of working.
HR and IC can influence and encourage leaders to role model this, sharing stories of lessons learned to help create the underlying psychologically safe culture that underpins a successful learning environment.
# 5. Walk the talk
Everyone is done with BS, fakery, propaganda, and political spin. Employees want to be spoken to straight and with respect. They can sniff out dishonesty and disingenuity a mile away.
As key influencers of and trusted advisors to leadership, IC and HR can align and partner to ensure leaders, including themselves, actively role model the company values, do what they say they will, show empathy, and be much more human in their everyday working lives.
Employees today are truth-seekers and they demand authenticity and respect, so make sure that’s what they get through their employee experience at work.