impactnews: Modernizing How You Communicate with Your Employees

In many organizations today, a typical team of employees may comprise up to five generations – the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (or Millennials) and Gen Z.

With this diversity in play, it can be a challenge to prepare and send work communications to employees that are engaging and effective. Adding to this dynamic, the current average attention span of an adult is eight seconds (down from 12 seconds in 2000), according to a recent Microsoft survey.

Whether it’s time-sensitive information about benefits and payroll or workplace news and updates, organizations know it’s critical to communicate clearly with their employees on company programs, processes and news.

With an innovative employer-to-employee communications program in place, companies can enhance the employee experience and, in turn, help bolster retention and recruitment strategies.

“From a communications perspective, the key today is communicating with and reaching employees where they are, such as via their cell phones more likely than their laptops,” says Janette Hunt, impactHR Senior Consultant. “We’re all inundated with email, which means this communications method can’t really serve as a primary form of communication anymore.”

Hunt says companies should consider a variety of communications methods, including blast text messages, connecting with employees through social media such as closed-group Facebook pages as well as mailing out traditional print materials. To this end, here is a quick set of tips to sharpen your organization’s employee communications program:

  • With mobile phones ubiquitous, consider sending blast text messages to your employees via a HRIS system (in addition to using email). Research from HubSpot shows email open rates average below 33% while text messages see an average open rate of 99% (with most of these being read within 15 minutes of their receipt).
  • Deploy video as part of your communications toolkit. In communicating benefits information, for example, video can be effective. According to a Flimp Communications study, videos for employees (especially those who work remote) that contain benefits information generate an average 78% employee engagement rate and 94% response rate per video viewed.
  • Think about going “old school.” In addition to the digital realm, send print postcards to employees’ homes to convey critical company or benefits information, such as upcoming open enrollment deadlines. Postcards are more likely to be read and acted upon compared with letters mailed in envelopes.

“With five generations in the workplace now, it’s a good idea to be more creative and marketing-oriented in your employee communications,” says Hunt. “The bottom line is people just can’t get through all their email. This is about modernizing the way we in HR communicate. If you use a variety of communications vehicles, your overall communications should be more effective.”

impactInterview: Kelly Mitchell on Key Trends in HR Heading into the Fall

With fall just around the corner, impactnews takes a late summer look at relevant trends in HR that have transpired through this year. To help with your strategic decision-making for this fall and into 2019, we’re pleased to present an impactInterview with Kelly Mitchell, Principal with impactHR.

impactnews: What is the general state of the union in the HR field today?

KM: I think the biggest thing now for employers is recruitment. Employers are challenged in finding the right fit for their open positions due to the tight labor market – and I think this is going to continue. Some companies will have a harder time than others based on the kind of employees they’re looking for and the industries they’re in.

Another aspect of this is the idea and practice of culture within companies and organizations. Culture in the workplace, in my view, can be defined as a kind of alchemy of rules, traditions and individual employee personalities.

Kelly Mitchell, Principal, impactHR

These ingredients, of course, are different in every company, in every industry and likely geography. Yet when companies focus on ways to improve or establish a new company culture, they’re working to bring these three pieces into harmony as best they can.

The idea is to establish clear, consistent workplace rules, laid out in the employee handbook. Maintain traditions, such as employee recognition programs, informal team meetings and fun activities for employees and their families. Then, respect the individuality of each of your employees while empowering them to help build a company culture that drives accountability and business growth.

When these ingredients are in balance, employees tend to be happier. Your company also becomes known externally as a great place to work, which therefore helps with recruitment of the right people.

impactnews: In the past year, have you seen a particularly interesting or important trend emerge in HR?

KM: I have noticed that organizations are concerned about employee retention. It’s hard for organizations not to focus on retention when they are focusing so heavily on recruitment. However, they need to focus on both.

When you spend a lot of time trying to recruit people, you need to make sure you also have a retention strategy. Or else there is a high possibility of losing those people you worked so hard to get, which puts you right back where you were at the start.

So, I think there has always been a need for effective retention strategies. Yet we have seen this need become greater than ever because of the shortage of talent for various roles and across industries.

impactnews: What should companies (and their HR functions) prioritize so they can be more effective this fall and into 2019?

KM: Compliance will never go away, so employers need to make sure they have their HR processes and practices in place. We have worked on a lot of HR audits this year, especially with smaller employers. Employers of all sizes need to be fully aware of the local, state and federal rules and regulations they need to comply with.

I also think employers need to focus on their employment brands, which will help them from an overall strategic standpoint and for their recruitment and retention strategies. Employers need to be able to communicate clearly who they are and why people want to work for them – and they need to constantly stay on top of that.

Tracey Ellison, Senior Consultant, Client Services, impactHR

Video: Tracey Ellison on impactHR’s Partnerships with its Clients

In a video series we’re launching today, impactHR’s Tracey Ellison discusses her approach to working with our client companies and organizations in her role as Senior Consultant, Client Services.

“That relationship we build with our clients is incredibly important – we get to know them and understand their culture. We get to understand where they want to drive their business. What we bring to the table is senior level experience from an HR perspective,” says Ellison. Watch the video.

MD, PA Receive Federal Grants to Aid Workers Affected by Opioid Addiction

Maryland and Pennsylvania, plus four other states, will receive a total of $22 million in grant funding to provide re-employment services for individuals impacted by the health and economic effects of opioid addiction, according to the US Department of Labor.

The “National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant” program funds will help these states address the economic and workforce impacts associated with the opioid health crisis.

Maryland will receive $1,975,085 and Pennsylvania will receive $4,997,287. Learn more.

US Dept. of Labor to Hold Public Listening Sessions on Overtime Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will hold a series of public listening sessions to gather views on possible revisions to overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The listening sessions will be held:

  • September 7, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta, 3315 Peachtree Rd. NE (Trippe Room), Atlanta, GA
  • September 11, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Jackson Federal Building, 912 2nd Ave., Suite 566, Seattle, WA
  • September 13, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza, One E. 45th St. (Ballroom A/B), Kansas City, MO
  • September 14, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Remington Arms Room DFC, Building 41, Denver, CO
  • September 24, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm, Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St. (Room 551A/B), Providence, RI

Registration is required to attend any of the sessions (which are free and open to the public). To register, click here. For more information about current overtime regulations, click here.

As proposed in the previous administration in 2016, the salary threshold for overtime exemption would have doubled from $23,660 to $47,476 per year.

If you have questions about overtime and how to comply, contact us at or phone 443-741-3900.