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  • Writer's pictureVinay Kalliat

Policy Communications - a make or break moment


A true-story


Sara had worked at ACME for years, but she couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. Multiple conversations saw her being identified as a top talent, but there didn't seem to be a way for her to grow within the company. She realized that a policy on Career Progression for top talent for people like herself was missing. When she brought up this gap in the Policy to her boss, he shrugged it off. Sara felt it was time to leave.


Sara put in her papers after receiving an offer from another company that pitched their "Career Growth and Advancement Policy" as a game changer for her career.


A week from her last working day, she met her HRBP Jack for her exit interview.


She mentioned this policy gap to her HRBP. Jack's blood ran cold.


The policy existed at ACME - in fact, it was better than the one at the place she was joining! Jack asked the Manager whether there were any more cases and he was told, "Sure...maybe another 2 more people will leave because of this issue".


Jack discussed what had gone wrong with the rest of the HR Team. He interviewed various team members both within and outside his own HRBP Community within ACME. These interview notes and some data points that he researched allowed him to to piece together the puzzle of what had gone wrong.


The facts showed that Policy Communications - a key part of the policy launch were performed in half-measures or not at all. The Career Advancement Policy had fallen prey to this flawed process as well. Jack found the following gaps:

  1. The communication was marred by generic email communications that were sent as one email with a link to a rarely accessed page on the intranet.

  2. The Managers had no clue that such a policy existed. Nothing was done to co-opt them into this programme. There were no Manager sessions and no documentation on how Managers could use this Policy to attract, grow and retain talent at ACME.

  3. The HR Operations Team was not fully briefed on this policy. They answered the questions they received on the policy and that was that. No attempt was made to brief them on how to answer questions more effectively and use the opportunity to build a better employee experience.

  4. The Leaders never spoke about this in their Town Halls and/or All Hands meetings. They didn't have an easy-to-refer document that would provide them with content for this agenda item.

  5. The Intranet was not updated properly and never served as a source of Truth anyway. So nobody bothered reading the intranet entry.

Fortunately, focused and constant conversations ensued between Jack, Sara's Manager and Sara. With a lot of convincing and more than a little luck, ACME was able to retain Sara. She was provided with the information and support needed to make a decision and her Manager was also educated on this Policy - along with a very relieved and appreciative Leader who was up all of the previous few nights thinking about the likely exodus of talent to this newer 'happening company' once Sara joined them.


This story ended well - but not every story meets such a happy end.


Lessons for HR Teams

Communicating a policy and letting people know that it has been created to solve their problems is a crucial component of a successful policy launch.

There are many instances where killer policies are let down by bad (or absent) communications. There's no point sending an email or uploading it into the intranet and then keeping quiet about it. Clear comms, targeted with the right messaging at the right target audiences of users, managers, leaders and even HR teams is the need of the hour.


Over-communication is better than non-communication.

Why effective communications matters for HR


HR has the good fortune to be a powerful change agent in the lives of employees. Programmes and Policies not only help companies retain talent, but can transform the lives of the talent in positive ways that may not be always known fully or spoken about openly.

Think of policies around DIB, Maternity Benefits, Leaves, Medical Insurance, or even Mental Wellbeing - all these policies impact the mental and physical wellbeing of everyone. Policies like the Referral Policies can drive down the cost of Talent Acquisition and free up funds for Employee Experience-focused actions.




Imagine the compounding effect that a thoughtful and well-crafted policy that is well-communicated to the stakeholders can have!

HR spends a lot of time brainstorming, researching, reviewing and finally rolling out a policy. However, once it is rolled out, it seems like someone who's all dressed up with nowhere to go. Communicating the policy and talking to people who are impacted by it can serve to create a culture where people believe that their opinions are taken seriously.


Conclusion


We know that not every HR team is happy with the way they launch Policies or communicate to their end customers. HR knows that communications are an important aspect of the employee engagement and experience, as welll as a key contributor to certifications like the GPTW.


Many HR teams are not equipped with the expertise or bandwidth to handle the complexities and multiple moving parts of a Communications Campaign.

That's where we come in!


Give us a call and we'd be glad to help you create and roll out some epic launches.

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