9 Changes That Call for Compassionate HR Communications
Are you reaching out to employees with compassionate HR communications? Recognizing when sensitivity is needed requires HR’s innate emotional intelligence. If you’re inviting employees to volunteer opportunities, there’s little need to spend hours polishing your emails.
However, if your organization is introducing altered compensation structures, thoughtfully crafted messages become a must. For those of you facing a tricky situation like this, go ahead and grab our eBook How to Bring the Compassionate Voice of HR into Your Communications.
As general guidance, pay close attention to tone if you’re announcing an organizational shift.
Changes that necessitate careful and compassionate HR communications
So when should you analyze HR communications? Below are nine areas that may require an extra focus.
Do you need to implement a 50-hours-per-week cap? Will driving hours no longer be counted toward overtime (OT)? Whatever decision you’re making, wisely think through your communications as some employees may depend on OT to pay the bills. Carefully prepared facts and transparency are key features to handling this challenge.
2. Paid time off
This is another sensitive topic. If you need to encourage taking paid time off (PTO) before January, temper your messaging with compassion for the inevitable vacation misers. Give advanced notice so workers can plan and coordinate PTO around others’ schedules if needed. With kindness, spell out your organization’s policy, and don’t assume everyone reads the employee handbook.
3. COVID-19 and safety-related guidelines
While safety standards are necessary, they’re often inconvenient. (Who enjoys sanitizing desktop surfaces each day?) Whether you’re discussing a social-distancing protocol or a routine OSHA update, sympathize with your employees. Acknowledge they may be experiencing compliance exhaustion—especially if your workers provide medical care or other in-person services. Explain the rules, but keep things positive.
4. Benefits programs
Launching a new health program, such as a diabetes-management or wellness program, is exciting. Just be sure employees know any initiative comes from a place of compassion, not coercion. Steer clear of creating the impression that workers will be penalized for not enrolling.
5. Health plans
Are you introducing an HDHP? Has your organization switched to a different PPO or introduced a narrow network? If this year holds health plan changes, handle your messaging thoughtfully. As you explain the numbers or other factors driving decisions, ensure HR communications contain expressions of genuine care.
6. Increased plan premiums
High healthcare costs are a hot-button issue. So it’s no surprise that rising premiums require a compassionate tone. Even though the news is likely disappointing, avoid a message of pessimistic commiseration. Instead, provide the information employees need to process the event, and highlight less expensive alternatives. You may want to share figures that place the increase in perspective. (“National healthcare costs have increased X% over the last year, but our premium impact is only X%.”)
7. Retirement planning
When it comes to retirement benefits, change is inevitable. Sometimes, it’s necessary to transition from an IRA to a 401(k) or drop matching contributions from 6% to 5%. Whatever shift is on the horizon, realize some employees may take the news harder than others. Plan in advance how your HR communications can compassionately help certain individuals to adjust.
Has COVID-19 forced your organization to lay off workers or make structural changes? Is your HR department anticipating furloughs? While it’s important to be straightforward and address uncertainty, it’s also appropriate to express heartfelt sadness that employees will be absent from your company.
9. Mergers and acquisitions
Regarding mergers and acquisitions, company leaders might be enthusiastic about the future. However, employees may be worried about the impact on their pay, seniority, and work habits. In light of this, focus announcements around workforce needs and concerns, and make it clear that HR is eager to answer any questions.
Are your HR communications conveying compassion?
Now that you’ve considered situations that call for thoughtful and compassionate HR communications, do you need help showing employees that you care?
If so, we’ve got a resource for you!
Our eBook How to Bring the Compassionate Voice of HR into Your Communications shares ways to let your team’s compassion come through. Download for your HR department today!
Categorized in: Benefits Communication & Decision Support