Whenever you’re communicating HR policies, you have to be meticulous. There are a host of legally-mandated employee protections you don’t want to accidentally contradict – that gets expensive fast. On the other hand, you also don’t want to promise employees something you can’t deliver. In addition to demoralizing your workforce, it can also lead to arbitration or lawsuits.
This need for caution when drafting employee notices can lead to revisions, wordsmithing, and discussions with the legal department. After hours of back-and-forth discussion, the document is finally released….and nobody reads it. It’s technically perfect, but employees know by the first sentence they aren’t going to make it to the end. It’s just too dense.
This is especially problematic if your document is asking employees to help you do your job better, which is exactly what a complaint or hotline notice is doing. If employees make it to the bottom of a hotline notification and process the information they’ve read, your hotline reporting will increase. That means that more bad employees will be investigated and removed, and more good employees will stay around to do great work and help maintain a positive culture. If they don’t process the hotline notice, the HR department’s job stays hard, and it gets harder.
This is why it’s so important to make sure that employees will want to read your communications. The ultimate goal of human resources is to ensure that the company and its employees are serving each other well. If employees see HR notices as dense, boring or self-serving, that perspective will frame their opinion of the department as a whole. Accessibility, authenticity and humor help employees see HR professionals as human. It also makes them more likely to read and process the information they’re being given.
One company that’s helping HR teams accomplish this objective is L&E. Their newest suite of content, Workplace Tonight, provides companies with short employee education videos on ethics and compliance topics scripted by professional comedy writers. Adding humor to topics generally seen as boring makes them much more likely to be watched and mentally processed by the employees. It also makes HR seem more approachable and less scripted, which can also have an impact on what they’re willing to discuss. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve picked up enterprise customers including Dell, Boehringer Ingleneim, and United Technologies.
Of course, humor is just one way to be more approachable. Humor in complaint or hotline notifications must be carefully considered, as you don’t want to trivialize harassment or bullying your employees may be experiencing and reporting. But make sure that, before you build your awareness campaign, you’ve thought about your front-line employees and asked “Will they read this? And will they commit it to memory?” Because if the answer is no, the notice won’t make your life any easier, and it won’t make their life any better.
To learn more about how CMTS:HR can help your company improve results from its investigations, call us at 855-636-5361 or email us at Team_CMTSHR@CMTSHR.com.