How storytelling can improve HR communication
HR teams do a lot of important work at their organizations. Unfortunately, the impact of their work isn’t frequently shared with the entire organization or isn’t communicated effectively. This can lead to company-wide misalignment, a failure to grasp the results of people-focused initiatives, and a general lack of appreciation for HR’s contributions.
In this article, we’ll explain how storytelling can paint a better picture of all the contributions HR makes to the organization. We’ll also show you how the Culture Amp platform can empower HR leaders to better convey their decisions, progress, and results to the rest of the company.
The power of storytelling for HR communication
Think about your last all-hands meeting. You likely heard updates from the engineering, marketing, and product teams. But was HR part of the conversation? Unfortunately, it’s all too common for HR teams not to share the progress or results of their work. Or if they do, they present scraps of information that don’t resonate with the rest of the organization.
We want to suggest a new way for HR teams to start communicating about their work – and that’s through the power of storytelling. While every story told will be a little different, each one should generally be able to address the following questions:
- Why did we introduce this HR initiative?
- Who are the stakeholders? In other words, who does this affect?
- What does this mean for the company?
- Which direction will this take us as an organization?
- What actions can employees expect to see taken?
Clearly hitting on these points will help your workforce internalize the most important information and understand the big picture. But like with any story, you have to adapt your content depending on who your audience is. In the next section, we’ll dive into the different personas you need to understand and explain how to shape your story to reach them effectively.
Who you need to reach with your HR communication
When it comes to key stakeholders within an organization, you have your executives, team leaders, and employees, and each of these groups has its own set of priorities. Below, we share more insight into each persona and the questions they will want to be answered when you share the HR story.
Your C-suite wants to understand two things when it comes to the HR story: 1) what the big picture is and 2) where they immediately need to take action. This means HR teams need to show executives, in an easily digestible format, how certain initiatives are progressing and give them access to real-time data and feedback from their employees.
Questions executives want to be answered in HR communication:
- What do the current People and Culture strategy look like?
- Based on this snapshot, what is and isn’t going well?
- Where are our employees indicating we need to take action? How do we accomplish this?
- Are we moving closer to or further away from our stated People and Culture goals? Why?
- Are we seeing an ROI for the HR initiatives/programs we’ve invested in?
- How is our company doing compared to other similar organizations (or other industry benchmarks) with these HR and people goals?
How Culture Amp helps:
- Our platform provides an executive dashboard that gives you a holistic view of what's happening across your organization (engagement trends, turnover predictions, DEI scores), as well as trending over time across your employee listening programs.
- Culture Amp also has an auto-generated PowerPoint report that’s fully formatted and easily exported by HR leaders to use in presenting out to the Board or executive leaders.
Team leaders – such as your Head of Marketing and Vice President of Finance – care about the people they manage. Specifically, they want to understand how their employees are performing and feel about the work they’re doing.
Also, don’t forget that your extended HR team is part of this group as well – from your Global Benefits Director to your Human Resources Business Partners (HRBPs). Every function of HR needs to have access to the same information so they can communicate with their teams about what to prioritize, where potential issues lie, and how to develop data-based strategies.
Questions team leaders want to be answered in HR communication:
- How is my team doing compared to where it was a few months ago? Where have we seen the biggest changes?
- What is the overall sentiment on my team?
- What are the areas my team is doing well in?
- What are the areas my team is struggling in?
- Given the information we have, what types of strategic changes does my team need to make?
How Culture Amp helps:
- Our platform makes it easy to share survey results with team leaders through a simplified report – this helps them clearly see what’s impacting their people, receive guidance on what areas to focus on, and get inspiration on specific actions to take for impact.
Employees want to have visibility beyond their own roles or teams. This type of information not only gives them a sense of belonging to the broader organization, but also provides a benchmark about the company’s overall performance, sentiment, and goals. That’s why all-hands meetings are critical to keeping employees in the loop.
Questions employees want to be answered in HR communication:
- How is our organization progressing?
- What are the big company takeaways I need to be aware of right now?
- What is the general sentiment and engagement level of the organization as a whole
- What is the general sentiment and engagement level of my colleagues compared to how I’m feeling?
- What type of action is the company planning to take in response to this information?
How Culture Amp helps:
- With our platform, employees can check in on and track company, department, and team-level goals to see what actions are being taken and to follow the progress being made throughout the organization.
- Culture Amp’s newly redesigned all-hands report can be shared out with all employees, which shows personalized comparisons of the employees’ responses compared to broader team and company results.
With the power of storytelling, you’ll be able to experience more effective HR communication in the workplace. Not only will this create better alignment across the entire organization, but it’ll also build appreciation for the work HR teams are doing.