Employee Communications Archives - MConnected Communications

The Missing Focus for HR

By | Employee Communications, HRevolution | No Comments

Being in HR can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a never-ending hamster wheel. Is what you’re doing making a difference? Do employees care? Will you ever move past being the department that gets blamed instead of recognized for the shifts you’re making with culture and engagement? Will the bottom line ever stop interfering with big ideas?

It can be frustrating and demotivating. And it will continue to be so… because no matter what you do, HR will continue to be a function that constantly fights the good fight unless your focus shifts – and shifts quickly. With AI becoming a reality for many HR roles, companies starting to pull back on their previously touted “HR transformations,” now is the time to refocus your energy and efforts on HR investments that have the biggest payoff.

This doesn’t mean that you need to invest a million dollars in the next best HRIS – but instead, it’s your focus and energy that can be invested in work that may not appear to be “HR-sexy,” but will win you big gains now and down the road.

So what is this shiny object that will be the backbone of your company’s H(R)evolution? Read More

You’ve Lost Your Email Credibility

By | Employee Communications | No Comments

How many employees are actually opening the emails you send? How many are reading them?

I’ve asked that question in four rooms filled with HR professionals in the last month, and the results weren’t encouraging. The most common response was (paraphrasing here), “We have no idea because we don’t track that… but we know based on their actions, that not nearly as many employees as we need to.”

Of course I’d love to tell everyone how to track their email open rates and click through rates and all of those yummy HR metrics, but it’s not feasible for some companies… yet. And that’s ok.

But if your employees are not reading your HR emails, you have a serious problem on your hands. One that you need to fix urgently – especially before Annual Enrollment rolls around.

And before you jump in telling me all of the excuses you have like: our employees’ inboxes are packed full, they’re overwhelmed with email, they can’t keep up, it gets buried, they don’t check email often… I think you get my point.

There are a million excuses we can come up with to explain why we think our emails aren’t being read. But they are excuses – not the reality of what’s going on. Read More

What is Your HR Brand?

By | Employee Communications, Future of HR | One Comment

Have you taken the time to discover what your personal HR brand is, or even more important, what your HR department’s brand is? Thinking about “brand,” or what we want to be known for, isn’t something that naturally pops up as a discussion point. We talk around it during performance reviews, we try to gauge it during interviews for new roles, but ultimately, we put our heads down and do the work.

Definition of Brand: a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic

You haven’t taken the time to consider how you’ve positioned yourself within the context of others. Or made a concerted effort to create a winning brand for your HR-self or your HR department. Instead, you’ve likely collected skills, taken on roles with increasing responsibility, maybe found a niche within HR that you thrive in, and kept going. Read More

7 Tips to Revamp Your HR Program Emails Instantly

By | Employee Communications | 3 Comments

When I was speaking at the Work Life Congress last October, I kept hearing the same thing over and over from every single HR professional I talked to during our round tables… we want to be better communicators, but we don’t know where to start. It was stated with more frustration coupled with the very real time and budget constraints that have been barriers in the past.

How can you use what you already have and create more effective HR communications? How can you revamp last year’s rollout emails, to something more effective without increasing your budget or investing a lot more time?

It can be an overwhelming proposition. Where do you start? How should you focus your efforts? Will what you change have better or (gasp) worse results than last year? Why should I be the one even doing this? And so on…

Even with all of the inherent barriers, you can absolutely create more effective HR communications (yes, I know – we’re probably talking emails for now), by implementing these seven tips. Read More

Super Bowl LI – An Employee Engagement Problem?

By | Employee Communications | No Comments

Did the Atlanta Falcons lose the Super Bowl because their employee engagement scores were lower than the New England Patriots? Maybe… but likely not. Their HR team will likely look at these metrics at some point to see if they could have done anything differently to help a better outcome or contribute to the winning outcome, respectively.

But both teams didn’t suffer from an “engagement” problem. They had a communications problem at different points throughout the game.

When we survey for engagement just once a year, we’re looking at things like: are our employees present; want to be there; with “us;” satisfied and happy with the work they do and with their boss; and so on. Survey results, by their very nature, are a moment in time – a reflection of what’s happening right at this moment combined with what had led up to that moment.

When we look at the Falcons, they were all communicating and on the same page during the first three quarters (non-football peeps, stay with me for a minute). They were engaged, present, have a common goal, “in the moment,” and were executing to the best of their abilities. They were as HR would say, highly engaged… and therefore positioned for success.

But in an instant, the tides shifted. With one play, momentum shifted the most highly engaged from one team to the other. And just like that, the Patriots shifted into being highly engaged. You could visibly see it on both sides – the energy, the positivity, the will to win, the camaraderie – it’s how football players show their “employee engagement.” Read More

Future of HR: Employee Communications

By | Employee Communications, Future of HR | No Comments

As we continue this series on the Future of HR, let’s review the second critical skill needed by HR professionals, just like you, to be successful going forward. You can review skill #1 (HR Metrics) here.

As a reminder: the future of HR needs three critical skills to continue the journey from “personnel department” to “getting a seat at the table” to ultimately, being an HR profit center and delivering results to the business. Are you ready to heed the call?

Skill 2: Employee Communications

Current State

“Employee communications” is a fairly new concept. So new, that when I launched my first employee communications department in 2004, the VP, Corporate Communications had absolutely no idea what I would be doing. While official employee communications departments or experts may still be emerging, the idea behind this skill set is nothing new.

At the end of the day, employee communications is all about connecting and engaging effectively with your employees and your people. The misconception is that “employee communications” is only focused on how emails get sent out or how we push messages out to our employees – that’s a small part of effective communications. Read More

What Should HR Leave Behind in 2016?

By | Employee Communications, Metrics | 2 Comments

One of my brilliant friends and mentors, Pam Slim, asked and then wrote a fantastic post about, “What are we going to leave behind in 2016?” The premise was that when we look at year-end activities and planning, we’re so focused on what we are going to do in the upcoming year, that we forget to leave behind things that didn’t work for us this year. And while it’s a genius reflection for your personal life, it’s also a great question to ask your HR team.

What is (or should) HR leave behind in 2016?

After talking to many of you this past year, the list of what HR should leave behind would be quite long. Ahem, traditional performance reviews would likely be at the top of that list with several “plug-and-play” HR programs and activities.

I wish I could wave a wand and grant you that wish. But for most of us, especially those in larger corporate roles, that’s easier said than done.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that this question of what should be left behind isn’t a critically important question for you to ask yourself and your HR team. Because your HR business is more than just corporate-driven annual activities – and there are definitely things on a day-to-day business, that needs re-evaluating. Read More

You Lost Me at “Memo”

By | Employee Communications | One Comment

I hope you’re not seeing the word “memo” being thrown around as often I have been lately. I thought for sure that word had been outlawed when email came around, but I digress.

A few weeks back, I received an email from a very reputable HR consulting practice telling me all about how I need to learn how to create more effective “HR memos for managers.” Um, what? I haven’t written a “memo” in at least 10 years, likely longer. Why would I need to learn how to do that now?

This is a classic case of not knowing your audience. And I bet you’re doing the same thing to your employees’ time and time again.

In the example above, I dug a little deeper and learned that the person who crafted the free download guide email, was an attorney by trade and a baby boomer. Not that there is anything wrong with either demographic assignation, but it is interesting to examine if those two factors led to an email that completely missed the mark for his target audience: HR professionals who are gen x or millennials.

His perspective created blind spots that didn’t align with his target audience. Which happens to all of us daily – even in our personal lives.

But being that you’re not able to transform yourself into each employee’s demographic fit, how should you go about creating messages that connect and engage them? How do you still craft communications about important HR work, that reach your majority with impact?

The answer to that can be lengthy and technical, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are a few things you can do right now to shift from your “demographic bias” into connecting with your employees. Read More

Annual Enrollment Not Going as Planned? Stop Doing This Immediately

By | Employee Communications, Open Enrollment | No Comments
And once again, you’re likely in the thick of Annual Enrollment – how did that happen? Maybe it’s not going so well this year. Maybe your employees aren’t signing up, renewing or choosing the plans you want them to. Or worse, they are simply ignoring it altogether… leaving you open to hundreds (thousands?) of calls in a week or so, when there’s nothing you can do about it.

Regardless of the reason or the situation, if your Annual Enrollment isn’t performing as you hoped it would, let’s get you back on track immediately.

Do your emails look like this one? (Blurred out to protect the guilty). Read More

How to Start Listening to Your Employees

By | Employee Communications | 3 Comments

We’ve all come across the situation before – your favorite store just changed the way they do something, missing the most obvious perk, leaving you questioning why they would make that change. My response is usually, “I don’t know, they didn’t ask me….” And of course I’d provide the “obvious” solution or missing piece, thinking it would have been so much easier if they would have asked a loyal customer like me.

And I’ve heard it across every single HR department and employee population – more times than I care to count.

Why did they change the performance management process? Did they know that this change adds an extra three hours to my small group? Isn’t there any easier way to do this? They just took a fairly reasonable process and “upgraded” it into something unmanageable.

Sound familiar?

Then we’re left to scramble to defend the change, provide a talk track to leaders about how to position it, create a program rollout to teach people about it, and so on.

We’ve alienated our best resources – our people and their insight.

Read More