Human Resource Communication Pays Off

By: John T. Mooney

Human Resource Communications and Corporate Communications – are they one in the same? Both plan and develop written communication strategies to further the understanding and perceptions of their audience. Both provide counsel and editorial support for management communications.

Business communications transmits and manages messages that inform, persuade and collaborate by speaking the language of the company. HR Communications creates a “one company" culture, integrates acquisitions and facilitates information sharing company wide. Both work at the highest levels of the organization, aligned with senior management and the board.

The most successful HR professionals are consummate communicators. Typically their organizations over communicate with all constituents. Their leadership styles transmit the traditions and values of their company. You often find a strategic HR function when the spoken and written words parallel leadership actions.

Human Resource Communications is a subset of our corporate culture. Corporate cultures determine communication styles. Cultures as diverse as a business headquarters viewed as a traditional downward style with an abundance of males in dark suits and white starched shirts to other companies which express their identity by polo’s with logo’s and scores of identical sites around the country.

Which of the three following communication styles dominate your culture?

  1. Downward – helping employees perform their jobs

  2. Upward – senior management and board level

  3. Horizontal – selling your value proposition and merging cultures

HR COMMUNICATIONS ARE SPECIALIZED

Human Resource professionals uniquely position themselves at both the start point and finishing point of the communication chain.

New hire orientation and policy and procedure manuals exemplify downward communication intended to help employees perform their jobs. Employee opinion polls, employee focus groups and exit interviews deliver information upward to solve problems and make executive decisions. Employee newsletters help work teams requiring a coordinated action between units or locations.

How well is HR information exchanged in your company?

Human Resource Communications Consultants manage and direct the planning, creation and execution of communication strategies to further the understanding and perception of HR policies, procedures, programs or initiatives. This often involves conceptualizing, researching, writing, editing and design/production of materials. Either print or electronic, projects often involve web pages (internet and intranet) and e-newsletters. HTML experience and knowledge of Dreamweaver and other graphic programs will serve this function well by providing the HR Communication Consultant a larger repertoire of up-to-date tools.

Is your HR information timely, accurate and understandable?

What should I expect from my Human Resource Communications Consultant? First, excellent writing and project management skills. Either internal or external, this person should display a record of accomplishment of interpersonal and project management competencies. They must be experienced in managing multiple assignments, with strong problem solving abilities. This “internal consultant" must have your confidence in an environment of highly confidential matters. Perhaps their past included the responsibilities of corporate due diligence matters.

Have they work experience at the highest levels of HR?

Do they have the proven ability to motivate themselves and others to generate strong results? To round out your choice, have they led HR initiatives and cross-functional teams? Ad industry / communication industry exposure just could be the icing on the cake.

Formally by PowerPoint or informally by walking the second and third shifts, we demonstrate HR Communications leadership as we amass information, process facts and disseminate intelligence at lightning speed. Our free flowing atmosphere of dialog and written messages translates values, traditions and habits into words and actions employees interpret

Operating as an internal consulting agency, or external resource, HR Communication Consultants work with employees and vendors on communication matters relating to the highest work initiatives. By building and managing cohesive communication strategies and working closely with HR process owners, they oversee the integration of both print and multimedia content and distribution. They may also create HR Communication metrics to measure results using employee communications to create a distinct competitive advantage.

One-page field memos and one hundred page policy manuals present a challenge for busy HR professionals. Your Human Resource Communications requires advanced knowledge and professionalism. Our HR role, singularly positioned at both the start and end of the communications continuum, offers an advantage to HR professionals who initiate and advance HR correspondence for field and headquarters functions.

© John T. Mooney 2003 All Rights Reserved

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