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Communication Is an Essential HR Skill

Clear communication is essential to the success of any business, and human resource managers are often counted on to help establish a company's communication channels and strategies.

The University of Texas at Tyler offers a Master of Business Administration online program that can help you develop an understanding of effective communication techniques thus enhancing your corporate leadership skills while you deepen your knowledge of the ever-changing global business environment.

The Cost of Poor Communication

Business surveys often indicate that one of a company's greatest challenges lies in developing effective communication strategies. Many companies struggle with this essential task.

"You can tie back almost every employee issue -- attendance, morale, performance and productivity -- to communication," says HR adviser Fred Holloway in Inc. Magazine. The cost of poor communication inevitably leads to higher turnover rates resulting in higher recruiting costs. It's easy to follow the cycle from there to lower productivity resulting from the constant need to invest in training new employees and the ever-changing dynamics of a rotating job force, which can negatively impact morale, driving productivity even lower.

The financial impact to a company's bottom line is steep, too. A 2013 report by David Grossman cited by the Society for Human Resource Management surveyed 400 companies -- each with more than 100,000 employees -- and found that the cost of inadequate communication to and between employees of those companies was an average of $62.4 million per year. Yet another study by Debra Hamilton in her article "Top Ten Email Blunders That Cost Companies Money" illustrated that smaller companies (100 employees each) weren't immune to the financial impact of poor communication either, suffering losses to the tune of $450,000 per year due to email blunders.

The Positive Effects of Clear Communication

On the flip side, some of those same surveys revealed that companies with clear and effective communication had taken the time to define their employee engagement strategies. These companies were proactive in defining their own company culture which included being upfront with employees about everything from internal and external challenges the company faces to sharing information about the company's financial reports. Employee engagement occurred in different settings from one-on-one meetings to group sessions where employees were given information about the business and its overall performance.

Clear communication involves more than just crafting a message, however. It also means ensuring that the message is understood. Inc. Magazine identifies strategies that can help a company's message resonate with employees:

  1. Evaluate your own abilities and play to your strengths.
  2. Sharpen your message by keeping it concise.
  3. Recognize good work and highlight it in front of the entire organization.
  4. Prepare for meetings to make sure you stay on point.
  5. Understand unspoken signals like body language and choose meeting locations that foster collegiality.
  6. Listen to employee feedback and follow up on employee requests.

Leading the Way With Human Resource Communication

The Human Resources department plays an important role in establishing clear communication beginning with the recruiting process. Internally, it means ensuring that staff understand the hiring needs and the required skill sets so they can create external recruiting materials that attract the right candidates. Clear communication continues with a new employee's orientation, and it's important that HR keeps supporting materials up to date with current policies. Supporting materials include employee handbooks that typically define expectations related to a company's culture and contain information about workplace safety, dress codes and performance evaluations, as well as a company's disciplinary and grievance processes.

Consistent enforcement of company policies helps instill trust in the company's communications. It helps set reasonable expectations in areas like job performance and safety. It can also help instill confidence in employees when the company must respond to crises. On the flip side, employees tend to ignore or disregard inconsistently enforced company policies, and employee relations suffer when the same standards don't apply to all. The end result is that future communication efforts can be severely hampered, too.

Developing Your Skills as a Leader in Business

The various channels through which a company distributes information to employees are constantly changing, and it is important to consider even the passive ways through which an employee may engage with a company. Companies with efficient communication strategies ensure consistency in internal messaging to employees via email, texts, websites and other digital platforms.

With a curriculum that includes courses in organizational behavior and strategic human resource management, UT Tyler's online MBA program can help you master the complexities of workplace communication by developing the leadership skills you need to be successful in an ever-evolving global business environment.

Learn more about UT Tyler's online MBA program.


Sources:

Inc.: How to Communicate With Employees

Society for Human Resource Management: The Cost of Poor Communications

Creative Communications & Training, Inc.: Top Ten Email Blunders That Cost Companies Money

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