HR 'can do more' to ensure effective communications to staff

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HR departments have a role to play in creating a clear communications strategy to engage all staff, according to a leading communications expert.

Anthony Hodges Consulting (AHC) chief engagement officer Karen Heath told HR magazine that segmenting communications to employees' needs is key. She added that too many companies send out one communication to all staff, not thinking about the best way to address each individual employee.

"With ever more diverse workforces in the future, the idea of getting the message across effectively to every employee will become even more important," she said.

"If you look at auto-enrolment in pensions, the message that you give employees in their twenties should be very different to those approaching retirement."

Employers will often opt for blanket communications because of restraints around time and resources.

"Often companies will not tailor their communications because it's just easier to send out one email to everyone," she said. "But you have to question whether communications that don't resonate with up to half of your workforce are effective."  

AHC chief business development officer Karen Partridge said that a "head office centric" approach to communication means staff in separate locations often feel disengaged.

"Local practices, economies and events can impact on how people feel about their financial situation, so it is crucial that employers have this in mind," she said. 

Partridge also highlighted challenges that differing shift patterns can bring to effective communication.

"If your communications plan includes roadshows, shift patterns mean you may need to run these both during the day and at night so everyone has the same level of access," she said. "That is why audience analysis and research is vital before any communications campaign."

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