Ultimately, leaders must understand their organization’s culture to determine the most appropriate employee message, or whether a message is necessary at all. In the case of the election results, however, we cannot deny that a change has occurred and for some employees that change was not what they were expecting.
As with any major change an organization and its people go through, it’s important for leadership to create an environment where open, transparent and constructive dialogue is encouraged within the workplace. Pretending like nothing has happened or that people aren’t feeling directly affected does a disservice to your people and ultimately your organization. Here are 5 ways to communicate with your employees when emotions run high.
1. Reinforce your Company Values
When crafting a message to employees, you will find the most success if you use this as an opportunity to reinforce the values of your company. One of our values at SHRM is, “Our People Matter” and so, for us, it’s important that our employees feel supported and heard. Acknowledging their feelings will go a long way in establishing trust in the organization.
2. Double Down on Benefits
Employers can also use this as an opportunity to highlight some of the company’s benefits offerings. Direct employees to their company Employee Assistance Program for resources that might be available to them. Many EAP programs offer stress management and personal wellness tools that employees can take advantage of during this time.
3. Offer Support
There are a range of activities – some of which can be tied to a wellness campaign – that an organization can do to assist employees:
- Bring in a massage therapist and offer de-stressing hand and foot massages to help employees unwind
- Bring in a yoga instructor or offer meditation resources
- Offer donuts or other snacks and create safe space zones around the workplace where employees can congregate and have discussions.
4. Open Lines of Communication
If a company does send a message to employees, it is important to reinforce the importance of person-to-person communication. At a time when tensions are high, internal social media platforms may not be the best place for employee dialogue.
5. Manage with Empathy
Most important, it is crucial that people managers recognize the signs of stress in their employees and approach them with compassion and empathy in the coming days and weeks. We do not always know what people are going through or dealing with outside of the office. Supervisors should work with their HR department to know what resources are available for employees, but they should also just be there as a supportive listener.
Finally, whether post-election communication comes from HR, executive leadership, a communications department – or if ultimately the decision is made not to send any message at all – this is a good time to take a closer look at your employee culture, reinforce your values, highlight your benefits and wellness offerings and show employees that they are supported, valued and heard. In the end, the most important lesson, and perhaps what your employees will value the most, is simply showing that you care.
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