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We spoke to five companies about their HR challenges – and how they combat them.
Editor’s note: Updated August 2021
A lot has changed since this post was first published in May 2019 – namely, a global pandemic that saw the biggest shift in working patterns since the advent of the internet.
We’ve written a lot about this new workplace and what that means for things like employee engagement and internal comms, but at the very heart of things, the challenges faced by HR remain largely the same (if not amplified by various restrictions).
So here are the challenges five leading HR professionals were facing back in 2019, and how they overcame them.
Any organization that has increased in size will have felt the growing pains of scaling rapidly. This inevitably leads to the difficulty of connecting and engaging with a large (and growing) number of employees.
This becomes all the more difficult when extended globally, across time zones and locations.
We speak more of how to communicate effectively with a global workforce here, but in short: it’s important to have a global workforce communications strategy. Our customers BASF achieve this by filtering their content from HQ to each of their locations, handled by local content managers. This ensures an equal sharing of company knowledge and news. Plus, it helps their employees – no matter their location – feel connected.
(Looking for content inspiration? Take a look at these 7 creative ways to communicate information to your employees.)
As well as struggling to communicate within a large workforce, organizations are also struggling with communication silos. The HR teams we spoke to explained how they use many different applications and how these all leave a trail of data and information behind in different places.
This reduces the ability to have one “go to” destination to look for anything you might need.
Despite studies suggesting that email is still the number one source of internal communication for FTSE 100 companies, nearly all of the HR professionals we spoke to reported that their teams ignored a majority of the emails that they sent them. They also reported that email silos are a big problem.
In terms of tools, social messaging channels like Slack have been criticized for not being able to scale within the growing organization; when you go past the 100 people mark, asynchronous communication that happens across rooms, channels and in DMs, makes for a lot of noise. Employees are struggling to keep track of their mentions and can miss key messages, or announcements, simply because they got lost in the noise. Slack even released this guide to some of the methods to use when you’re in a larger organization, including not being afraid to have hundreds, or even thousands, of channels to dilute tasks or projects into sub-groups.
Despite good internal communication practices, employees are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Not to mention the number of tools used to deploy it.
It’s one of the reasons why organizations such as 3M are using digital screens to deploy key information to digital screens across their organization.
With such a high workload it’s impossible for 3Mers to keep on top of their inboxes and messages. Which is why they switched to using digital signage for their internal communications strategy.
Another challenge faced by the HR managers we spoke to was the ability to develop a company culture and improve the employee experience; companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
Content is one of the founding principles of creating a strong work culture. From employee recognition to counting down to the next work event, securely sharing data dashboards to making meetings more accessible with broadcasting, digital signage can be an affordable and scalable way to amplify your business’ key messages.
Of course human resources is really human behavior. Like finding out what makes people tick, what might offend or upset them and how different types of people, teams and even cultures, like to be managed.
One of ScreenCloud’s CoFounders Luke, recently mentioned what happened when he relocated to Thailand. He found that some staff found it distressing to have direct feedback given in view of their colleagues and would much prefer to have it given to them one-on-one.
Identifying patterns can really help you improve the employee experience. This is one of the reasons why HR data is such a hot topic, with employee tools now offering data on retention, hiring and employee happiness scores to help departments make more informed decisions about where they need to improve.
16Personalities is just one of the many tests that can be introduced as part of the onboarding experience to help companies get to grips with who is in their team and how best they like to work. Buffer is another example of a company that looks to determine whether it’s staff members are extroverts, ambiverts or introverts, so that it can adjust its company away trips and perks, to make way for all different types of employees.
Thanks to Clark Tibbs for the photo we used above, sourced via Unsplash