If you could enhance any of your communication skills, which would it be? That’s the question a colleague recently asked me. It was an easy answer: my financial know-how. While being financially savvy may not be classified as a “communication” competency, it’s certainly important to business leaders. And what’s top of mind for management should also be our priority if we want to provide the best counsel — and have leaders seek our advice.
To weather today’s economic storm, many companies are implementing cost-saving measures that impact employee benefits, including pay cuts, forced vacations, suspended 401(k) matching contributions and frozen pension plans.
These actions don’t happen in a vacuum — and neither should communications about any benefit reductions, which are part of a company’s overall business strategy and financial plan to return to profitability or greater stability. While this is difficult workplace news, it’s another opportunity for us to address employee fears and clearly explain the rationale for these changes against the bigger business picture. Consider these ideas:
Since the economic crisis erupted last fall, we’ve developed an increased awareness of all things financial — from quarterly corporate earnings to our 401(k) statements to the fluctuating stock market. But there’s also a workplace communications upside to the economic downturn.
You now have employees’ full attention to communicate the business of your business. It’s a teachable moment — an opportunity to partner with our organizations or clients to help improve the business literacy of employees. Addressing their financial anxieties can help keep employees motivated and productive during these stressful times. Consider these ideas:
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