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Communication needs to be personal to give staff a shared sense of purpose, says CIPD

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A strategic approach to employee communication can only be successfully built on a shared sense of purpose, with all employees understanding what the organisation is 'here to do', according to a new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The research: Harnessing the Power of Employee Communication, explores how to improve employee communication across the organisation. It incorporates insights from CIPD’s earlier research and identifies communication as a way to help drive sustainable organisation performance, an area explored further in its Shaping the Future ongoing research programme.

At a time when many more digital channels are available for communication, the research urges employers to make their communication personal and authentic. It also recommends HR works together with internal communications, PR and marketing to ensure all elements of communication efforts are joined-up.

Accompanying this research is a practical tool, HR: Taking Employee Communication Seriously, which offers advice and useful tips on how to improve or put into place a strategic approach to employee communication. The tool includes guidance, frameworks, diagnostics and further case studies to help practitioners identify why strategic communication is important to the HR strategy and a way to build sustainable change and employee engagement.

Rebecca Clake, CIPD adviser, says: "Our research demonstrates that an organisation’s ability to communicate effectively with its employees is always important, but particularly so in difficult economic times. Leaders need to make sure that their sense of clarity for the future direction of the organisation is shared by their people. With this in mind it will be interesting to see how public-sector organisations approach communications during the coming months, as departments face the prospect of budget cuts and major organisational change.

Helen Rosethorn and Annette Frem of Bernard Hodes group, authors of the report and tool for CIPD, commented: In these continuing tough times employees need to have clear line of sight to their organisation’s purpose and trust the ‘deal’ they have with their employer."