Team meetings are the most effective method of communication for keeping employees informed on organisational issues, according to Personnel Today‘s sister publication Employment Review.
The survey of 71 organisations showed that as well as being cited as the most effective method by 35% of the respondents, it is also by far the most common, used by 85%. The second most popular form of communication was e-mail updates (83%).
Team meetings and one-to-ones with line managers were rated as the most effective ways of encouraging a two-way dialogue between staff and employers, despite the rise in the number of employers establishing consultative bodies in the workplace.
However, 30% of the HR professionals responding to the survey believe their organisations’ arrangements for staff consultation do not work well, with the same number reporting that consultation only occurs in crisis situations such as redundancies or organisational restructures.
Fifty-two organisations (79%) hope their communication efforts will encourage feedback, while 65% are aiming to improve staff performance, and 48% communicate so that staff can contribute to the decision-making process.
Seven in 10 (69%) of the employers have a permanent consultative body in place, such as a council, forum or committee.
However, surprisingly, the numbers of respondents consulting on some of the more core topics have started to decline. For example, 69% of respondents in the 2008 survey said they consult on pay and terms and conditions, compared with 78% in 2006. Less than half (44%) now consult on health and safety, compared with 68% in 2006, and 54% report consulting arrangements on changes to employment level or status, compared with 76% in the previous survey.
Five of the organisations said they do not consult on any topics at all, while 12 consult on just one or two subjects.
Forty-one (62% of the 66 that answered this question) have set out their communications and consultation arrangements formally. Among these, 17 have a written agreement with a trade union, and 17 have an ‘information and consultation agreement’. Twenty-five (38%) either have an informal policy or an ad-hoc arrangement, which allows them to deal with each situation differently.