3 ways HR can use a doctor’s approach to navigate difficult conversations
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HR leaders are finding that they are having difficult conversations with employees on a more frequent basis. These conversations are never easy or natural, especially when they can’t be in person, but there are strategies employers can take to deliver difficult news in a way that fosters compassion and clear communication.
“We're finding our HR professionals are having to deliver news that they’ve never had to before. How you have those difficult conversations with employees can make the difference in someone being a good manager,” says Dr. Anthony Orsini, a practicing neonatologist who also helps business and HR leaders navigate difficult conversations in the workplace.
As a physician, Dr. Orsini is familiar with having difficult conversations with patients. After a life-changing experience witnessing another doctor deliver news in a way that made the situation worse, Orsini says he knew there was a way to make the process better, and adapt it to a corporate environment.
“I spent the next 10 years researching the best ways to communicate during difficult conversations,” Orsini says. “I started the breaking bad news program, where I've been training people all over the country on how to have difficult conversations, how to build relationships, and how to use verbal and nonverbal communication techniques to deliver compassion, and to make things go easily to resolve conflicts.”
Over the years Orsini’s program evolved from training only within the healthcare industry to other businesses and organizations with an emphasis on good employee communications. In an one on one interview, Dr. Orsini shared some strategies for HR professionals to implement when navigating difficult conversations with employees.