LATEST RESEARCH

2021: Employee Communication Trends
Supporting the future of work with Digital HR Assistants

The past year has created numerous challenges for organisations and employees everywhere. As a result of the move to remote working, many businesses have faced the challenge of how to provide their employees with support and information regardless of location. 

To find out more about the changes in employee communications, Humley recently surveyed 250 full-time UK employees exploring the challenges they are facing in finding information and how this has impacted their roles.

Communicating and finding information

With many employees now finding themselves working from home most of the time, traditional methods of communication are becoming less effective. This in combination with multiple and complex systems and the plethora of emails HR and Support teams are receiving daily, is making it increasingly difficult for employees to find the information they need to support their role. 

The survey unsurprisingly found that the most popular channel of communication remained email, with 42% of respondents choosing it as their preference. Email has for decades been the dominant form of communication, with billions sent every day. Until recently there have been limited alternatives besides face-to-face meetings or telephone calls. It is, therefore, no wonder that email is so embedded in our personal and work behaviours. 

In recent years the rise in social media and collaboration platforms, such as Facebook Work Place and Slack have filtered into the workplace and are increasing in popularity as a result of both the pandemic but also because of the younger generation entering the workforce. 

Humley’s survey found that within respondees from the Gen Z age bracket, there was a more diverse split of communication channel preferences. With 33% preferring instant messaging tools such as Microsoft Teams and 30% preferring mobile messaging. 

This split conveys not only the growing sophistication of these platforms and the changing attitudes to technology but also employees’ desire for having multiple and varied channels to communicate in depending on need. 

Additionally, employees from larger organisations (1000 employees or more) preferred collaboration channels such as Slack or Teams more frequently than email, with 26% choosing it as their primary means of communication. The size of an organisation can make it more difficult to communicate on a one-to-one basis and find information easily, with many more business systems and multiple points of contact, making collaboration tools more effective for connecting with larger groups of people. 

Challenges employees faced with communicating and finding information

Across all the respondees, delays in receiving responses and the information needed was the top challenge faced. However, delays in responses particularly affected those who preferred email as their primary method of communication, with 35% of this group experiencing this issue. With the volume of emails being sent to HR and Support Teams, it is not surprising that there would be some delays in responses.

Aside from delays, the other major challenges faced by employees when communicating or finding information were uncertainty over the best method of communication, the best point of contact, and too many sources of information. These challenges were again most prevalent in larger organisations where structures and systems are more complex and numerous. 

The Impact on an employees

These challenges had a wide variety of impacts on the respondent’s work lives, ranging from more operational limitations, to directly impacting morale and engagement. The survey found that 42% of employees have struggled to find the information that they need to support their role, leading to misinformation and lack of clarity ultimately reducing productivity and directly impacting customer and supplier relationships. 

How Technology can help

With such increasing volumes of communications and information requests being sent, it is no wonder that operational teams such as HR are struggling to keep on top of them. As we move further into 2021 and the future, remote working will continue to be the norm for many employees. Therefore, HR and Support Teams need a solution that will enable them to support their employees regardless of their location or communication channel preference to ensure satisfaction, engagement, and wider business success. 

Intelligent Automation platforms, such as Humley’s Digital HR Assistant could offer HR a solution. 

Integrating with your existing business systems

The wide variety of business systems and sources which employees and HR teams need to navigate to find the information they need can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. A Digital HR Assistant enables organisations to integrate all their HR (SAP, Breathe, Bamboo, sage, oracle, and many more), L&D, and Payroll systems within one location. This means not only can employees find information quickly and easily, but that they can also perform tasks such as updating personal information or booking a holiday without ever needing to navigate away from the Digital Assistant. 

On average this generates a 30% time saving for HR teams, freeing them up to focus on more strategic tasks and creating improved employee experiences.

One point of contact for all communications

As demonstrated by the survey, there are a wide variety of communication channels available for businesses and employees to use. However, with such variety comes confusion, delays in responses, and a poor experience for employees. 

On average, a Digital HR Assistant can automate 80% of employee requests communications and tasks through providing a user-friendly self-serve interface within the channels that employees use – providing one location for employee support. This improves the adoption of the solution by making it familiar to use but also improves experiences and compliance through creating consistency of messaging in one channel. 

Enhancing employee support and wellbeing

Digital HR Assistants could help HR Teams identify potential employee wellbeing issues in real-time and develop effective solutions quickly via intuitive dashboards and analytics.

Humley’s HR Assistant provides People Teams with prebuilt and customisable dashboards and reports, which track metrics such as FAQs triggered, employee feedback, and volume of communications. These metrics provide HR experts with an insight into employee satisfaction and proactively help to identify trends that could impact the long-term success of an organisation. 

To find out more about how Humley’s Digital HR Assistant could transform your HR processes and employee support get in touch today. 

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