As August winds down, you may feel like you are falling behind when it comes to implementing and communicating Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) changes that will affect the exempt/non-exempt status of many employees.
There are many web resources and organizations such as the PHRA to help you manage the change, but the focus of this article is on communication and some things you can start doing now, even if you do not yet know all the details of how FLSA changes will affect your workforce.
Here is a short list to get you started on creating better internal communications:
Assess your communication channels: For most companies, a one-size-fits-all communication approach will confuse employees. Do not try to tell everybody everything. Employees who are changing status need more detail compared to those who are not. Managers need to be informed in advance and require different information from front line employees.
You will need strong channels to these audiences in order to be successful. As you think about those channels, consider the following questions:
- Do you have the capability to reach your different audiences with tailored messages?
- Can you deliver union-specific messages to union employees?
- Can you communicate directly with management, and front-line managers in particular?
- If you use group meetings, are the rooms booked and the logistics squared away?
Remember to review email mailing lists for accuracy and remember to account for groups that companies sometimes forget about: part-time, temporary, consulting, contracted, intern and volunteer audiences.
Start a communications stakeholder analysis: Even if you can’t define exactly who will go into each box of the analysis, you can still broadly categorize the groups you will need to reach and start to plan the channels and flow of communication accordingly:
- Senior Leadership/Middle Management/Frontline managers
- Affected employees (switching to non-exempt)
- Affected employees with additional requirements (for example, sometimes the change in status will trigger changes to compensation that need additional attention)
- Unaffected employees who will hear rumors and will need some confirmation that the current changes do not apply to them
- HR Business Partners, Call Center representatives, Legal/Compliance/Employee Relations, and other centralized resources that may get direct employee queries
- Groups with other considerations (for example, working remotely, working internationally, unions)
- High-impact groups (groups/individuals who are likely to see more significant change and who you anticipate will require additional communication support)
Assess institutional volumes: The FLSA can introduce large changes that may require many organizational resources and demand significant amounts of managers’ time. Look through the end of the year to assess what other significant efforts are underway. Try to find lower volume periods to introduce this change. Many call centers, for example, face high volumes in November/December. Try to avoid peak seasons for your sales, production, operations, and service parts of your business, as applicable.
Establish a centralized repository for information: If you have an Intranet or similar capabilities, create separate FLSA pages for managers and employees. Use the sites to present information visually and archive emails and other push communications. Among other things, having a centralized site will allow you to keep emailed communications short. Your goal is to funnel employees consistently to the centralized repository, where you can track visits, encourage questions, and use visuals and even interactive tools to chunk information and make it easier for people to find what they need.
Want to know more? You and your communications team can get started today on quality FLSA communications, even if you do not have final details in place.
Learn more about communicating FLSA changes to your organization at the PHRA Breakfast Series from 8 – 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the PHRA offices in One Gateway Center, Suite 1852, 420 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222.