Human resources, or HR, is an essential part of your business. While this team may not be tied to revenue numbers, make no mistake, your company can’t grow or run without HR. They keep your business humming by helping to recruit, hire, train, develop, and retain employees. While your customers may be consumers or other businesses, their customers are your employees and potential new talent.

This makes HR communication absolutely vital in creating a more engaged, motivated, and productive workforce. Whether they are updating policies, resolving internal conflicts, recruiting talent, managing feedback and performance reviews, or ensuring compliance, their effective communication is fundamental to your business operations. This group is also often champions of ensuring effective and inclusive language throughout the rest of the organization.

But this year’s State of Business Communication report revealed a particularly astounding finding for HR teams: They are in a state of communication overload. HR teams report spending an average of 47 hours each week just communicating. This is not only more than any other team surveyed, but it’s also nearly one workday more than the traditional 40-hour workweek.

We wanted to dive deeper into the data to find out how this communication overload is impacting HR workers—and find a solution to help. Let’s do it!

HR Is Overloaded With Internal Comms

It’s no surprise that HR teams communicate more than most, but spending nearly an entire additional workday communicating is noteworthy. For HR teams, communication isn’t only synonymous with work—it’s synonymous with overwork. How exactly are HR workers spending this time?

HR workers spend an average of 32 hours each week on written communication. This is 29% more time than the average knowledge worker. This consists of writing messages in channels like email and chat tools with colleagues, as well as creating, editing, and collaborating on materials. They also spend 15 hours in meetings, 44% more time than the average worker. 

Compared with their colleagues, HR workers spend more time working with people internal to their own company. In fact, HR teams report spending 68% of their workweek communicating internally, with that time split nearly evenly between their own department (46%) and other departments (53%). HR is, in essence, the nervous system of the company. They connect all teams, levels, and departments together to ensure a smooth-running organization. 

But while HR is overloaded with internal communications, it is also responsible for communicating externally. Critical functions, including recruiting and talent acquisition, vendor management, and others, rely heavily on effective external communication.

Whether they are hiring new talent, sharing company-wide materials relating to corporate policy, implementing DEIB strategies, or managing interdepartmental matters, effective communication is critical tof their work. So how are they impacted when communication breaks down?

Poor Communication Impacts HR More Than Most

When communication is effective, HR teams thrive. Over half of HR workers say that effective communication helps to improve relationships with colleagues (63%), increases work satisfaction (62%), increases productivity (59%), and improves their confidence at work (54%). Effective communication is particularly important for HR’s relationship with company leaders. The majority (80%) of HR workers say they have improved faith in the company’s future due to effective communication from leadership—they rate this 13% higher than the average worker. In many ways, HR teams represent the company to employees, so confidence in the company’s future is essential for this team, in particular.

On the flip side, when communication breaks down, it impacts this group more intensely than others. HR workers report increased stress, strained relationships with colleagues, and lowered productivity. More than one-third of HR workers say that this impacts their overall satisfaction at work.

The root cause of poor communication for HR teams is likely communication overload. The large majority (84%) of HR workers say they’ve been communicating more and across more channels (79%) in the past 12 months. This is leading 38% of HR workers to report both information and channel overload.

HR teams are keen to find a solution. In fact, 70% say they wish they had better tools to help them communicate effectively. So what’s the path forward?

Early AI Adopters Are Already Seeing Results

Generative AI offers a promising solution for HR workers, the vast majority of whom are already experimenting with AI at work: 76% of HR workers report using AI in their jobs—44% more than the average worker.

This group of early AI pioneers is already seeing its benefits, with half reporting reduced stress (52%), increased productivity (50%), and enhanced work satisfaction (50%). AI is almost acting as an antidote to their poor communication problems.  These benefits extend to aid their internal communication overload, as well as make their external communications with candidates and new talent more effective.

HR teams also report saving 10.5 hours each week with AI—36% more time than the average worker reports. This group strongly believes in the power of AI to enhance their job performance. Over 8 in 10 HR workers say that generative AI improves the quality of their work and makes them better at their jobs.

Finding the Right Generative AI Tool for HR

Not only does gen AI have the power to help HR teams communicate better and take back much-needed time in their day, but HR teams are also more eager than most to take advantage. Leaders should lean in and provide their HR organizations with an AI writing partner that meets their needs.

When researching tools, you’ll want to look for an AI writing partner that can:

  • Work across every layer of communication, such as email, chat, text, and others that HR teams use to interact interdepartmentally
  • Be customized to your specific brand, so you can better enforce brand guidelines, terminology, and compliance standards that HR often manages
  • Encourage inclusive language across the organization to help standardize DEIB proficiency 
  • Personalize results for context, tone, clarity, fluency, and more to enhance communication across the entire company
  • Be useful to all teams in the enterprise, not just a point solution for HR use-cases
  • Provide robust analytics so HR teams can measure and track ROI across the organization

It’s time for HR teams to harness the power of AI to overcome communication overload. Get even more insights on how your entire organization can use generative AI to communicate better, not more, in the 2024 State of Business Communication report.

Curious to learn about trends in your team’s communication trends and AI usage? Check out our blogs that dive into the worlds of CX, marketing, and IT communication.

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Note: all hours referenced have been rounded to the nearest whole number

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