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5 HR Communication Tips During Challenging Business Times

Wow, closing the book on 2022 is probably a sigh of relief for all those negatively impacted by the poor economy, downtrodden stock market, countless office closures and layoffs (over 150,000 layoffs across 1,000 tech companies in 2022 and already over 25,000 layoffs across 100+ tech companies in 2023, based on layoffs.fyi statistics!).

These sorts of turbulent conditions can really exacerbate declined productivity, poor employee morale, and heightened attrition across companies, big or small.

Nearly 74% of employees retained after a layoff saw their productivity decline, and 69% said the quality of their company’s product or service deteriorated.

Harvard Business Review

But we at Envoque are firm believers in silver linings and new opportunities, and investing in employee engagement can yield incredible dividends both in the short-term and long-term. It’s never too late to invest in your employee experience!

Companies shouldn’t need to duck-and-hide and wait for the storm to pass when it comes to their people. Times of tough change is when your employees expect to be reassured and want to be connected, even if the impulse is to quietly “ride the wave”. In many cases, the opportunity to strengthen your company culture is even more tenable during the tough times than the easy times.

And what’s more – many of your employees that maybe saw their longtime colleagues and friends exit the company should be re-engaged on a personalized level. Many will be dealing with “survivor’s guilt” or the general nerves or anxiety that ultimately pave the way towards seeking new employment and cause spiked attrition. There’s an incredibly timely opportunity there as well.

47% of disengaged employees surveyed say they intend to leave their organization in the next year.

Quantum Workplace

Sure, it’s not easy, but building a rewarding company culture and strong employee experience begins with engaging your employees. Engagement requires connection and empathy, and that can be readily achieved with a focus on content and communications. In the past, we’ve called this “the last mile” – signifying that 95% of the hard work HR teams undertake is with developing the EVP, building out countless programs, recruiting and hiring the best employees, and investing in highly competitive rewards, L&D, career training and more. So what’s that 5%, or last mile, worth to you?

While there are a lot of tactics to help with employee communication, we’ve created a simple infographic to help get you on a good path here. A copy of the 5 HR communication tips are also below, for those of you text-inclined rather than visually-inclined:

  • Tip #1 – Leadership must provide a vision of the future with clear direction. Instill confidence in your workforce while demonstrating empathy. It may be a difficult balance to achieve, but this is an opportunity to message a vision that is inspiring, inclusive, transparent, and future-focused.

  • Tip #2 – Reinforce your employee value proposition. Remind your employees of why your company is a great place to work – the rewards, the culture, career development opportunities, D&I, and more.

  • Tip #3 – Leaders should communicate often, highlighting positive accomplishments. It’s more important than ever to continually connect with employees, answering their questions and making them feel valued.

  • Tip #4 – Prioritize empathy across the company, from leadership and across management. Your employees are also going through tough times, so it’s important for leaders and managers to show empathy and demonstrate self-awareness. Make it about the people moving forward as well as those left behind. This will lead to better business outcomes.

  • Tip #5 – Leverage people data and analytics during and after the period(s) of change. If you’re like most HR teams, you’re probably juggling too many priorities with too limited resources. Using data to drive your retention strategies – ie. employee pulse surveys, HR program enrollments and usage, and retention and hiring metrics – can help you prioritize and refine your activities and investments.

Ultimately, the benefits of a strong HR content and communications focus yields its dividends in the form of increased employee retention and a stronger culture. The retention not only helps you to keep your key employees, but ensures they will also understand the company’s vision, future direction, and employee value proposition. These are the core blocks for maintaining good employee productivity.

The stronger culture results from the collective experience of sharing the adversity, challenge, and turbulence. It’s what organically codifies after being “in the trenches together” as employees. Reinforcing that culture through engagement in the form of strong communications and compelling content will continue to energize your workforce and lead to a rewarding Employee Experience.

If you want or need more help, we’re just an email or call away. Nothing motivates us more at Envoque than our mission to help companies engage their employees.

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