HR Bombshells

Sophie Author of HR Bombshells

HR Bombshells – when an employee delivers unexpected news

       Tips for Employers


What can you, as an employer do when you are caught completely by surprise – and not necessarily in a good way? How can you anticipate the unknown? And protect your business in the first instance?

  • What if an employee tells you they are moving abroad due to family issues and want to work remotely?
  • What if an employee discloses a serious health condition?
  • What if an employee wants to transition gender and communicates it to the workforce?
  • What if an employee notifies you of a serious health and safety issue in the workplace/significant near miss?


As challenging as it can be to prepare for the “what if”, the cost of not doing so can be high. In this month’s tips I look at ways HR can support employers to handle “difficult” news


  • Maintain eye contact– while it may seem like a no-brainer, some managers need to be reminded that, when an employee tells you something difficult, it’s important to be present.
  • Always remain calm and supportive– it has probably taken a lot of courage to speak up.
  • Listen– you are not expected to have the answers to everything and being a listening ear can be extremely valuable
  • Do your research– you may need to investigate, look things up or go on a course! Be honest about your limitations and be clear about what steps you are taking to educate yourself, but also don’t over promise you won’t become an expert overnight!
  • Take notes– difficult conversations or where emotion is involved can mean you might mis remember how a meeting took place or what was said. Keep notes, but remember these need to be kept in line with GDPR
  • Get the employee’s consent first – If it is something deeply personal but you need to liaise with someone else in the business.


Bonus Tip – Make sure you are briefed on what support the Company can provide and how to access    it.


Want to see more of Sophie‘s top tips?  See below