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Employee communication: The missing piece in the HR technology landscape

by Steve L. Adams, CEO of EmployeeChannel

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 23, 2016 – Driven by the needs of today’s tech savvy, multigenerational, and geographically distributed workforce, organizations and their HR professionals are looking for new ways to get employees the information they need—how they want it, when they want it, and where they want it.

Older technologies, such as e-mail, Intranet portals, posters and banners, and even the incredibly important town hall meeting are falling short, delivering generic information to an audience looking for increasingly personalized, real-time communications.

Further, a host of technology solutions addressing multiple HR processes have fragmented employee communications—as well as employee- and company-specific data—across multiple applications and third-party systems.

The current state of employee communications

Despite the best efforts of HR professionals and HR technology vendors alike, organizations lack a comprehensive solution for employee communications, with little to fill the gap between traditional channels of communication and the demands of the new workforce.

HR technology vendors have historically focused on the automation of payroll and bene?ts administration; recruiting and onboarding; talent, performance, and learning management; and workforce planning and management. They have designed products to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Rarely have technology solutions been designed around and for the employee and their needs.

Additionally, organizations and their HR teams have been hamstrung by channels of communication that are designed for pushing out “one-size-fits-all” messages while employees are relying heavily on old school, one-on-one communications, such as phone calls, e-mails, and face-to-face meetings to get the personalized and context-sensitive information they need.

How big is the communication challenge and how much of an obstacle is it to improving the employee experience that most organizations are striving to deliver? Recent research points to the severity of the problem.

Market sentiment reveals need for modern-day employee communications strategies

According to a recent EmployeeChannel report, HR professionals are not satisfied with current channels of communication, and the impact on their organizations—from having to provide personalized responses to employee requests—is profound.

The survey conducted with senior HR executives in Q1 2016 points to the need for a contemporary solution for real-time employee communications.

According to the survey, HR executives rank “provide open communications” as a top priority of their communications strategy with 74% of respondents ranking it in their top three priorities. Also, HR departments rely upon traditional, one-way communication channels with 90% of respondents using multiple channels including e-mail, Intranet portals, eNewsletters, posters, and banners to communicate with employees.

The survey also revealed that only 29% of respondents are only “satisfied” with these channels of communication, and only 40% rank e-mail, the most frequently used channel, as “effective.”

Despite the importance of employee communications, only 25% of respondents are using analytics to measure the impact or effectiveness of employee communications, and most HR teams lack the real-time, contextual, and actionable data that would allow them to rapidly respond to employee expectations, preferences, and concerns.

Meanwhile, employees continue to push for one-on-one communications with 91% of respondents indicating that employees are making direct calls to HR, 89% sending e-mails to HR, and 74% scheduling face-to-face meetings—impacting HR professionals’ workload on a day-to-day basis in a profound way.

Finally, multigenerational, geographically distributed workforces with ?exible workplaces are driving the demand for a new way to communicate, and more than half of HR respondents (57%) would consider building or purchasing a mobile app for employee communications to reach this contemporary workforce.

In summary, the research suggests that HR teams must employ multiple channels of communication to reach employees, but remain largely dissatisfied with the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of those channels.

It also suggests that the shortcomings of these channels drives the need for one-to-one communications for employees who seek highly personalized and context-sensitive communications. In short, it points to the need for organizations to connect with employees in a whole new way.

3 keys to successful employee communications

Contemporary employee communications strategies demand an employee-focused approach that delivers the knowledge and performance of a company’s HR professionals and their partners at employees’ fingertips. To deliver on this approach, organizations and their HR teams need to address key success factors in a technology solution:

  • The ease and responsiveness of a best-in-class consumer experience. A contemporary employee communications solution should provide the immediacy and convenience of self-service with anytime, anywhere access to personal- and company-specific information.
  • Highly personalized content. A contemporary communications solution should respond quickly, accurately, and in context to employee requests with personalized content that helps employees understand, decide, and take action in their moment of need.
  • An integrated view of personal information from a single point of access. A world-class solution should provide a single point of access to employee- and company-specific and should either pull the data into the solution or provide employee-friendly navigation to information in other HR applications or third-party systems.

The technology industry has delivered a variety of tools addressing HR processes that are designed to improve employee engagement. However, in that response, the industry has largely ignored the automation of employee communications, the cornerstone of employee engagement. In this new era of the employee, where the battleground is for the hearts and minds of employees, an employee communications solution is long overdue.

A communications solution that drives engagement and, by extension, retention will be the hallmark of leading edge, progressive organizations. And, more importantly, a communications solution that delivers personalized communications will help employees do their jobs better and will create an employee experience that gives organizations a competitive edge in attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent.

About EmployeeChannel

EmployeeChannel is a leading provider of award-winning mobile apps for employee engagement and communication, enabling HR and Internal Communications teams to boost the impact and effectiveness of employee communication, to create a positive employee experience, and to drive cultural and business outcomes. The EmployeeChannel app extends the knowledge and reach of organizational experts to employees anytime, anywhere and is dedicated to the interactions between an organization and its employees.  Employees can find and receive organizational information easier and faster, get personalized responses to requests, and react quickly to time-sensitive events.  HR and Internal Communications teams can respond real-time to organizational imperatives and employee needs using behavioral insights from Voice of the Employee analytics.

To learn more about the EmployeeChannel app and how it can be used to engage and communicate with employees, please visit www.employeechannelinc.com

EmployeeChannel is a trademark of EmployeeChannel, Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

For press inquiries:
Aimee Quemuel
Codey Communications
(415) 753-9005

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