employee performance evaluation, employee training, hr best practices, hr policies, Human Resources Training, workplace safety

The art of delivering tough messages

At some or another point of time, HR has to deliver a few tough messages to the employees. More often than not; HR get squeezed between the employees and the management, and have to convey unpleasant things from the management to the employees. They are the ones who become targets of employee ire because they are seen while management is not!

Conveying tough messages is an ineluctable part of HR’s work. This is one of the many unpleasant things they would have to do. Whether they personally like to carry out this task or not; they are called upon to from time to time. The tough message may be of any nature. It can range from something like telling employees that management does not like the way they spend their time after lunch to serving out a termination or dismissal message.

Ways of conveying tough messages

The message may be tough, but the delivery need not be so! HR can make the message seem pleasant by being polite in the delivery. Yes, it is not possible to be smiling when dropping a bomb; yet, HR can put the message as mildly and diplomatically as is permitted. When it is inevitable that something of very high importance is being delivered; HR can start off with something like: “Folks, we have news. I am afraid you’d have to brace yourselves for some hard facts. We have always liked the way you have performed in the past, but unfortunately, our company has had to make a few changes. Some of our employees will have to find alternative means of employment, and we are sorry your department is one of them. We know how much it hurts to be facing a situation such as this, but we are not doing this out of pleasure. We will give you some time during which you can look out for alternative jobs or careers”.

Important to remember these things

It is very important for HR to remember a couple of critical aspects of firing employee/s. When making its announcement; it should give the employee the opportunity to talk and ask questions. Of course, it is naive to expect that the employee will have nice questions to ask. So, it is good to be prepared for hostile questions.

Secondly, when axing becomes inevitable, and HR is sure that it is purely for business reasons rather than for the employee’s fault, it can try to place such employees elsewhere from among its contacts. This will go a long way in helping it increase trust from such employees, who may after all return to that organization or may refer when needed.



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