One of the debates I’ve heard recently is not whether employers should have back-and-forth communication with their employees, but how. 

Now that most companies have embraced annual employee surveys, employers are getting a birds-eye view of their employees’ perceptions of their working environment.  Increasingly, companies are using these insights to make more informed and strategic decisions about future initiatives.

This should be enough, right? 

A yearly survey may no longer be sufficient for employers to fully understand their organisation.  As the way we work evolves, HR functions will have to as well.  As companies become more global and employees less office based, getting a sense of how their people are feeling is an even greater challenge. 

The best way for companies to get the most from their employees is to listen to what they have to say.  However, the mechanism for achieving this may need to change with the times.

On-going ‘pulse surveys’ of specific business functions are helpful to get a temperature check between annual all-employee surveys. 

So-called social HR’, a way to connect and manage employees by embracing social platforms, has proved to be an effective method.  Since employees are no longer office bound – many work remotely, on the road or in another part of the world – HR has a role in not only communicating with the workforce, but making sure that employees can easily network with one another. 

Embracing social technologies as a way to manage employees, get constant feedback and connect them across the business provides organisations with a valuable tool: their workforce.

Social platforms are a new form of community-oriented leadership.  With these technologies, employees can network, share and collaborate on projects and day-to-day activities.  They can also find expertise and skills within the company.

It seems that people management is shifting from top down to bottom up.