Communication Memo

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  • Topic: Maytag, Michigan, Trade union
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  • Published : April 21, 2013
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|To: |Dana Donnley, Director of Employee Communication. | |From: |Rey, Employee Communication Manager. | |Date: |March, 8th 2013. | |Ref: |Confidential: Employee Communication Strategy | | |Proposal for the Whirlpool Corporation Employee | | |Wellness Program. | | | |

1. Background.

Whirlpool Corporation (hereinafter the “Company”) is facing financial problems, and therefore has decided to lower the insurance benefits expenses of its employees. As stated in the Bain & Company’s memorandum dated February 28th 2013, there is a direct correlation between the amount of money spent by the Company on insurance benefits and their wellness. Not only that, but also having healthier employees boosts their productiveness.

As a consequence, the Company has included within its Human Resources strategy to offer and persuade its employees (and their spouses) to get in the headquarters a free mini-physical test, denominated the Employee Wellness Program, whereby the height, weight, blood pressure, and vital signs of the employees are measured (the “EWP”). This means only a routine exam that tests various bodily functions and reflexes, giving as an aftermath a diagnostic of the employee’s general condition.

As a result of such test several diseases can be detected in their early stages, giving the employee the advantage of an early treatment, and the company its savings on insurance benefits payments. Whirlpool Corporation is heavily Unionized as a consequence of a responsible leadership of its authorities.

2. Query.

You have consulted me in order to draw and structure strategy that the Company should carry out in order to communicate the employees the aforementioned EWP.

3. Response:

We propose a multistep strategy that takes fully advantage of the prestige of the Company’s Union, and involves it directly to inform and persuade employees to perform the medical test. Also, main concerns should be specifically addressed, such as the confidential matter of the information, its propose, and the fact that taking the medical test is voluntary.

4. Foundations of the Response:

From a Human Resources standpoint the EWP should be managed carefully to avoid that the employees (and the Union) get confused regarding the real intention of it. In general terms, the communication should be simple, forceful and straightforward.

However, some issues should be specially addressed, in order to avoid confusions. These are:

1. The Test is Voluntary.

It should be pointed out that the medical test is voluntary, since employees could otherwise interpret it as a coercive measure by the Company.

2. Scope and Benefits of the Test.

The communication should also explain the scope of the test, so the employees are sure what to expect when they take it. Also its benefits should be mentioned.

3. Confidentiality of the Information.

In spite of being arguments against it[1], I am convinced that this point should be specifically addressed in the communication. There should not be doubt about it within the workforce. Also, a mention to the Professional Secrecy legal obligation should be done to reinforce the Company’s commitment to respect it. Hence, the only person to get the result of the test is the employee itself (therefore the Company does not get the information).

4. Use and Propose of the Information.

It should also be pointed out that the only purpose of making such medical test is to get a diagnostic of the employee’s general condition for his own benefit and use....
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