Maybe you have to raise employee co-pays again. Or perhaps you’re going to stop offering retiree health benefits. Here’s the best way to communicate unpopular info.
Remember that childhood game, “Whisper Down the Lane,” where you try and see how closely what the last person hears is to the original message?
Bad news is going to get out there. And the last thing you want is to have it twisted, mangles and exaggerated so it resembles nothing like the truth. That’s why as soon as your company has less-than-popular healthcare news to impart, you and other top managers will need a strategy to get it out there.
Here’s one worth adopting:
- Get managers in from the start. If you don’t have buy-in early on the supervisor level, you’ll never have the people that work for them, either. After all, they’ll likely field a lot of employees’ questions and will be your best gauge of how your news is really being received.
- Come armed with context. Even if you have to increase co-pays by 5%, maybe the average increase is 8%. Pass that along.
- Anticipate questions. Once you tell managers the news, try brainstorming some of the concerns your employees will have. When you come prepared with answers, you may calm some anxieties.
- Think about those who aren’t impacted. If you’re putting in a policy where smokers pay higher premiums than their non-puffing counterparts, you’ve obviously braced for backlash from those impacted. But what about the employees who won’t feel the sting? They’ll likely sense some resentment from their co-workers. You might try and prepare for that, too.