Depending on your business' size, nature and structure, the type of information you are sharing and the input you hope to get, there are a variety of ways to communicate and consult with employees and/or their representatives.
Where you have an information and consultation or European Works Council agreement, a pre-existing agreement or where you are legally required to inform and consult with employees on other matters (such as health and safety regulations or when considering redundancies), any consulting and informing you do must comply with the terms of that agreement or other legal requirements.
To communicate individually, you could use:
- one-to-one meetings - for issues specific to the individual
- telephone calls - for home workers and other offsite employees
- email - employees can respond at their convenience
A record should be appropriately kept of such communications. You must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Failure to consult your staff is a regular Tribunal complaint by employees.
Face-to-face methods of communication include:
- group or team briefings - discussion and feedback on issues directly related to the group
- quality circles - groups that meet regularly to solve problems and improve quality
- large-scale meetings - to present the business' performance and long-term objectives to employees or exchange of views
- cascade networks - briefing small groups of people who tell others the same information, to get information across quickly without having to call a meeting
- inter-departmental briefings - to promote a unified approach within larger businesses
Written methods include:
- company handbooks - combines company and job-related information
- company newsletters - present information about the business and its people, in print or through email
- employee information notes - reports the business' activities and performance
- departmental bulletins - informs on a sectional, departmental or wider basis
- notice boards - encourages communication between employees
- intranets - stores company information in a structured way for employee access
- email - communicates with employees in different or isolated locations
Consultation methods include:
- joint consultative councils/works councils - regular meetings of managers and employee representatives
- joint working parties - resolves specific issues and includes managers and employees
- trade unions - aim to improve terms and conditions for their members
- informal emails - promote a feedback forum for employees to consider and put forward ideas at times convenient to them
- annual staff survey or questionnaire - allows for giving frank views if employees can reply anonymously