In today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, the success of an organisation is closely tied to its ability to foster a great organisational culture. Two crucial pillars that contribute significantly to this endeavour are Internal Communications (Internal Comms) and Human Resources (HR). At the intersection of these two functions sits the power to inform, engage and excite employees about organisational objectives, and to build a culture with intention and thought.
Let’s delve into the crucial relationship between Internal Comms and HR, highlighting their collaborative potential, benefits, challenges, and future considerations.
Internal Comms focuses on facilitating transparent and meaningful communication among all levels of an organisation. HR, on the other hand, is responsible for managing the workforce through the employee lifecycle, from recruitment to development and retention. While these functions may seem distinct, they are intrinsically linked by their shared goals of promoting employee well-being, engagement, and a sense of belonging within the organisation.
The Intersection of Internal Comms and HR
Internal Comms is a key partner for HR to communicate their strategy and initiatives. The alignment between Internal Comms and HR is a critical factor in ensuring a seamless and effective employee experience.
For instance, during employee onboarding, Internal Comms can provide the necessary materials and messaging to help new hires integrate into the organisation smoothly. Internal Comms channels (eg: intranet, leadership blog etc.) give new employees a lay of the land and important context about their new organisation.
When faced with restructuring, mergers, or other significant shifts, HR and Internal Comms work hand-in-hand to manage communication strategies that minimize disruption and uncertainty. This collaboration fosters trust among employees and maintains morale during challenging times.
Benefits of Effective Integration
When HR and Internal Comms function cohesively, the organisation and employees experience the benefits:
Challenges and Solutions
While the integration of Internal Comms and HR holds immense potential, it’s important to acknowledge the potential roadblocks that organisations may encounter along the way. These challenges can arise from differences in priorities, communication styles, and organisational structures. However, they can be overcome with a defined strategy and governance framework.
|Challenge||Solution||Tools & Governance|
|Differing Priorities and Goals: Internal Comms and HR often have distinct objectives. While HR focuses on talent management and workforce development, Internal Comms aims to facilitate transparent communication. This divergence in goals can lead to conflicting priorities and hinder effective collaboration.||To overcome this challenge, it’s crucial to establish a shared understanding of overarching organisational goals and by aligning both functions with the organisation’s mission and vision. ||Shared mission & goals – what do we want to achieve together and how do we want to do it?|
|Organisational Silos: Organisational silos can deter collaboration between Internal Comms and HR. Often these functions operate independently without sharing information. As a result, employees receive conflicting messages or lack a comprehensive understanding of important initiatives.||Encourage regular meetings and joint projects between Internal Comms and HR teams. Implement cross-functional teams that work together on initiatives such as employee engagement campaigns, onboarding processes, and crisis communication plans.||Annual strategy session & content plan Regular cross-functional meetings Roles & responsibility matrix (eg: reviewer, approver) Approval process Project working groups |
|Resistance to Change: Employees, especially those in leadership roles, might be resistant to changes in communication methods or processes. This resistance can stem from a fear of disruption or a preference for traditional practices (eg: adoption of a new internal social media platform).||Engage key stakeholders from all the relevant departments, allowing them to provide input and take ownership of initiatives. Communicate the benefits of the integrated approach to leadership, highlighting how it will improve efficiency, engagement, and overall performance.||Leadership buy-in through an overall Internal Communication Strategy & Goals Change management working groups|
|Communication Styles and Channels: HR and Internal Comms might employ different communication styles and channels. HR often relies on formal, structured communication, while Internal Comms may use more informal and creative approaches. This disparity can lead to inconsistent messaging and confusion among employees.||Develop a cohesive communication strategy that blends both formal and informal communication styles. Establish clear guidelines for when and how each function’s communication methods should be employed. Emphasize the importance of consistency in messaging, especially during critical organisational events and changes.||Tone of voice guide Channel mix Crisis communication strategy|
|Lack of Resources: Limited resources, whether in terms of budget, personnel, or technology, can hinder the implementation of integrated strategies between Internal Comms and HR.||If additional resources or budget are required, make the business case to the leadership / decision-makers. Prioritize projects and initiatives based on allocated resources. Work with the IT department to leverage existing technology and tools to streamline communication processes and reduce costs.||Business case for additional resources / budget Resource and budget allocation based on annual plan Cross-functional meetings with IT to leverage existing tools and technology|
|Measurement and Evaluation: Measuring the impact of integrated efforts between Internal Comms and HR can be challenging. Demonstrating the return on investment and the tangible outcomes of collaboration can be crucial for gaining buy-in from leadership.||Establish clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the objectives of both functions. Regularly monitor and analyse the data to assess the effectiveness of collaborative initiatives. Use these insights to refine strategies and showcase the positive impact of the integration on employee engagement, productivity, and organisational culture.||Define what success looks like for both teams Define KPI’s and metrics|
While challenges may arise when aligning Internal Comms and HR, they are not insurmountable. By acknowledging these roadblocks and implementing proactive strategies, organisations can create a strong partnership that enhances the corporate culture through effective communication and employee engagement.
Future Trends and Considerations
Looking ahead, several trends will shape the integration of Internal Comms and HR:
In the current competitive landscape of employers, company culture is the secret sauce for employee attraction, engagement, and retention. The working relationship between HR and Internal Comms enables the culture to come to life by nurturing a workforce that is motivated, engaged, and aligned with the organisation’s mission. Organisations that invest in strengthening this relationship are poised for future success, equipped to navigate change, crises, and the evolving landscape of work.