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Who, What, When, Where?

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Effective Leadership Communications for HR Professionals

  • Format: Self-paced
  • Course Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • SHRM Professional Development Credits: 2.50
  • HRCI General Recertification Credits: 2.50
  • Certificate of Completion (after passing quiz)

As an HR Manager, you will be asked to present to a senior leadership team many times in your career if you haven’t already. Defining a problem and identifying the appropriate call to action is difficult. The overall objective of this course is to help you develop a clear, concise communication when handling three different HR related scenarios including:

  • Employee attrition
  • Updates to an interview process
  • Employee survey scores

During this course, I’ll demonstrate how to set up a professional presentation, review the best method for telling your story and ways to prepare for your meeting. We’ll develop a succinct, straightforward set of communications to address common HR scenarios. The lessons will prepare you for that moment in front of your senior leaders; a moment to build credibility, improve your brand and bring visibility to an important HR issue.

HR Jetpack is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 2.50 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit

This activity, has been approved for 2.50 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at
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Title: Who, What, When, Where?
Module: High Employee Turnover Rate
Duration: 22:17

In our first scenario we use an important topic to illustrate great methods for communicating your message in a professional manner a high employee turnover rate.  Let's open up our professional template. Go to Powerpoint and you'll see that over on the left hand side, our list of recent documents.  So depending on what you've been working on you should see the professional template right there on the left hand side. If you don't, it may be in your featured area here on the front page or you can always go over to the personal side and you can see our templates right there. So let's click on it and let's click create. OK. So we're going to name this, Employee Attrition, and then we're going to go down to today's date and, let's just say for our sample, it's September 25th, 2015. Now we're going to go up to the top here.  We're going to go to file and we're going to save this.  Let's save it as, on our desktop. How about our desktop. We'll save it as the, Employee Attrition Template.  Now you could even save it as a custom template if you'd like but for our purposes, I'm just going to save it on our desktop as a regular presentation.

So moving on to our second slide.  Let's type in, let’s put our caps on, Employee Attrition, at the very top and once again we're going to come back to filling in this agenda, once we've completed our presentation.  So let's go on to the third slide keep our caps lock on and we're going to type in Employee Attrition.  So you know that this is the overall topic that we are going to be covering throughout this presentation and I'm going to fill in and change this subtitle here in just a minute.

So let's go off of caps lock.  It’s important to make sure that that's not selected.  Now the first question is who. We know who. It's our senior leaders and by using this template, we are addressing them but we also know that they're going to be affected by this problem and they're involved in it.  So make no mistake that your entire management team needs to be held accountable.  Right.  They're part of this process as well.  So we don't actually have to say this or put it on the slide.  Although it might be helpful if the President or most senior staff person in the room spoke for a few minutes about addressing this problem. In fact, I would recommend asking that person to say a sentence or two as to why you're presenting. This could help with your credibility and it also can help ensure that everybody pays attention because this is an important topic.  So let's remove this set of questions here. Again we know the who, so we can we can get rid of it and we can also remove this right brace and this one as well along with our couple of text boxes that we have here. Those are items that we're actually not going to be using they're there and they are to remind you the direction that you're going to take as you're building this presentation.

Now our first three to four slides, including this one, are going to answer the questions, what, when, where, and why.  So let's select this slide over here in our left hand side panel.  And we're going to go up to the Clipboard section, see this little dropdown right here next to the copy icon, and we're going to hit duplicate, three times.  One, two, and three. And we’ll add another slide if we need to. Now let's go back up to slide number three. We're going to select all of this text, the whole text box, and we're just going to get rid of it. A picture is worth a thousand words. A great way to tell the story is through an illustration.  So we got rid of our text here and what we're going to do is go into the box and we're going to go over to a Smart Art graphic and we're going to go to hierarchy and we're going to select an organizational chart and click OK.  So now our text box is turned into an organizational chart.  So what our goal here is to show how many openings there are in your organization at this particular time.  So what better way to send your message than to discuss the current pain everyone is feeling.  First, you know we all know what it's like when an employee leaves and we need to backfill their position.

So now we're going to add some text. You can either click into the box this way or you can click over here in the “Type Your Text” here box. So either way you know, it doesn't really matter where you do it.  They give you a couple different options.  So first we're going to start at the very top of the organization with your President and then we’ll go down to the next one and we’ll add in the Executive Assistant. And what I want to do, is add enough boxes for eight senior leaders. Now you could also label these by department.  So you could add in each of those names or right now we're going to be putting placeholders in there as samples.  But here's the cool part.  Underneath their name, you can hit Enter and hit Tab on your keyboard.  So you can actually list the number of positions that are open in that particular department or under that particular senior leader.  Now if you have a larger division, you know, you may not have the ability to illustrate the entire number of openings that there could be.  However, certainly at the very top of the organization, you can demonstrate and use this illustration to show how many positions are generally open so you're conveying the right message.

So let's go back up here to our first text box and we're going to type in Senior Leader, number one and then underneath we're going to type in, let's say it's the sales department, we're going to type in X number of sales positions. And let's go on to the next one, Senior Leader, number two, hit Tab, X number of finance positions. Go down to the next one, Senior Leader, number three. We’ll skip number three.  Let's go to senior leader, number four.  Type in X number of engineering positions. Now what I had to do there, after I hit Enter, I hit Backspace so that way, I'm creating a new Senior Leader box. Senior Leader number five. Let's say, this is X number of supply chain positions and then let's hit Enter again. Let's say X number of operations positions that are open. Hit Enter and Backspace, Senior Leader, number six. We’ll skip that one. And we'll put in Senior Leader number seven. Let's say this is legal.  Enter, hit Backspace and let’s go to Senior Leader number eight and we’ll leave Senior Leader number eight alone. Now you will notice that Powerpoint automatically began formatting the org chart so I could fit in all of these boxes so that will just do it for you. Now you might need to still make a few adjustments to it but the bottom line is, this is a way of using an organizational chart where you can illustrate how many positions are open in each of your departments. You want to show your audience what the current state is. Matter of fact, let's update our subheading. Let's go up to the top here.  Let's get rid of tell the story and let's type in “Current state of open positions”.  So now you know exactly what it is we're to be talking about when we get this slide. We're starting to answer the what questions.  What are my key points?

So now keeping with our theme, blue isn't necessarily a bad color but you know we want to update that and we also want to update the font.  We want to keep that consistent. So first let's go to the font here since we're on the Home tab and let's type in Arial and then for our size, let's put in twelve. That should be able to be seen by everybody once we go into Slide Show mode and you can test that out as well. And what I would also like to do is go over to my Smart Art tools and I want to update these colors.  So let me go to the dropdown menu and I'm going to keep consistent in terms of the color being black.  So I’m going to use the first one that we see here and I also want to double check that the org chart is centered on the page.  And it is. You see you can see with the grid line right here in the middle.  It's going right through our middle dot and then also it's very much aligned with our major grid line in the middle.

Now to add a quick summary having that quick snap shot.  Let's add a text box.  So let's go to Insert text box you see how the cursor turns into an upside down T and for now let's drop it right here between let's say the three and five and a half, according to our top ruler there. Let's go over to the font and change it to Arial and we'll make the size font fourteen so that way it's pretty visible once you have it in Slideshow mode.  What we'll do is type in each number with the total at the very bottom, so each number of these open positions. So let's put in X number of sales positions. X number of finance positions. X number of engineering positions. X number of supply chain positions. X number of operations. And then X number of legal positions and then, a total at the bottom. And we're to carry this text box and we’re going to expand it out just a little bit so that way nothing is overlapping or running on to the next line.  OK what I’m going to do is just move it down just a little bit so it lines up with our two gridline over here on the left hand side. You'll see that it is big enough, it's large enough to get your point across and be able to convey a summary very quickly.

Now at the very bottom of the slide, let's add another text box.  So let's Insert. Go to text box.  What we want to do is note the age of the data. Most likely, you will get this question. So let's go up to the default font changed it to Arial. We really don't need it to be very big since this is a footnote.  So let's make it twelve.  And let's put in, data as of 9/1/2015.  So in our sample here, course we're going to be giving this presentation on September 25th and the data that you ran that you're going to bring to the meeting, is of September 1st. Let’s go down to our Notes section next and type the little Notes button right here.  And what I want to do is just expand this so I'm going to touch this top line, turns into a double arrow and I'm going to bring it up.  Now it doesn't matter what font or size or what have you the notes are as long as they're not so big and there's not so many of them, that they run off of the page when you go to print.

So let's type in our main points here.  Currently, there are X total number of positions open within your firm and this includes all those that are broken down on the screen by function. You want to note that the data is as of September 1st, that's when you read it.  You also want to note that this is the highest number of openings the company has had in four years. Now you're starting to answer the questions, Where and When. You aren’t going to open this up for any sort of debate or discussion. This is just one of your primary data points.  So let's go up here to our little disc icon and let's hit Save.

Moving on to the next slide, let's bring our Notes section down for now and expand the view of our slide.  We're going to highlight this text box again and we're just going to get rid of it. Going back to the idea that an illustration, a picture is worth a thousand words.  We're going to update the heading. Get rid of Tell the story, to Year over year attrition.  This is an important metric that you want your managers to be thinking about during your presentation, I mean really it's a primary driver for why you’re meeting.  So we want to insert a chart this time in the text box. So let's go into our text box and we're going to go down here where you see this Column Bar graph and we're going to Insert a chart. As a matter of fact, the first one that pops up is a Clustered Column and this is exactly what we want.  Although ours isn't going to look as complicated as this.  So let's click OK. Give it a moment and now it appears.

Alright. So what we're going to do is, we're going to insert our sample data up here in our little Excel spreadsheet.  You know, by the way the ability to see your Powerpoint slide while you populate the Excel document is new. In other versions of the software the Excel document would take up almost the entire page so you couldn't even see your slide like you're sitting there wondering where my slide go when I actually went to the Excel document. You’d have to toggle back and forth between the two and having this here is much more convenient. Now we don't need columns C and D of data.  So we're going to take this little box right here.  We're going to select it.  See how our little cursor turns into double arrows and we're going to bring it over.  So this is telling the program what data you want selected to show on the screen.  We're going to keep series one, column B. And now let's label each of these categories.

So we talked about this happening over the past four years.  So we're going to start with our current year and work our way down.  Now we're going to populate it with some data.  Your average attrition has risen above what experts consider a decent rate of 10%. Now this is going to vary by industry but the national average has been around fifteen percent for a few years.  So what we're going to do is type in 16%, 12%, 10% and then 7% right, so you're seeing this drastic change over the past four years and you'll notice that now we've populated our graph with some sample data and, of course, we want to clean this up just a little bit.  So let's close out our mini Excel document by hitting the X here.  We're going to select our graph our bars by clicking on the bar.  Now we want to select all of them. In the future, if you just wanted to select one, you would click just on that one bar.  However, we want to select all of them, so I’m going to go back and you see the first time you click all of them are selected.  Now we're going to go up to the Add chart element and select from the dropdown menu, Data Labels.  We want to know exactly what this data is, we don't want our audience trying to figure out where each of the bars lines up with the percentage on the left hand side.  So we're going go to the Data Labels and we're going to go to the outside end. Super easy for your audience to be able to read.

Now let's update our Axis here. Going to double click on it.  And you'll notice that the Format Axis pane appears on the right hand side so this happens with some of the commands where they just appear on the right, actually makes it a lot easier for you to update. Now our minimum is always going to be zero. We always want to start at the bottom and our maximum for this particular slide is going to be 20%. Our major unit is going to be 5.  And let's close this out.

Now since we only have one data point we're going to get rid of these titles up here because we don't need to know within the graph what these data points are because we already know what it is. It's up in the subtitle telling us that it's the “Year over year attrition”.  So we’re going to get rid of this one, selecting it and then hitting backspace on your keyboard and we'll get rid of this one to, select it and hit backspace or delete. So you notice that our graph automatically expands once we get rid of those smaller text boxes within the graph.  Now let's also get rid of these grid lines here.  Those can be distracting as well.  We also want to update our font.  So let's make sure that our graph is selected.  Let's go over to Home and let's type in Arial.  And then for our size, we want the numbers to be seen so we're going to go up a little bit higher than thirteen and fourteen should do it. Now we're looking nice and clean.  Now for the colors.  Again, let's select all the bars.  Let's go up the Chart tools.  Let’s go to Format to keep it simple because we don't need to change all the shades but we do want to change the shape fill so let's go here. Go to the dropdown menu and I like to have a darker blue you know that's what I like typically to start with there's a darker blue, dark greens maybe even a red but I find that this looks very clean when you're presenting to a senior staff.

Alright so let's take a quick look in Slideshow mode. Looking very good, very simple, very clean and you can see what your message is going to be pretty clearly.  So now let's hit escape on your keyboard and let's go down to your Notes section, I want to make this just a little bit bigger. And this is where, of course, you can type in any details that you want to bring up during the conversation.  But first let's type, Average attrition rates for the past four years have steadily increased and reached 16%. You also want to add that the measurement is from the same time frame each year and it stayed consistent on an annual basis.  I also want to add that some industries are affected by seasonal labor but yours isn't.  This is an above national average which are typically around 15% for all industries. 10% is the best target and again that's across industries.

Now remember this information can be found on several different reputable sources so if you get questioned, you could always bring a list of those sources with you for other people to take a look at after the meeting. We continued to address the What, Where and When questions. In the next section, let's focus on answering, Why.

Instructor: Christina A. Danforth

Christina A. Danforth, SHRM-SCP & SPHR, launched HR Jetpack in 2016 to support the development and professional growth of her fellow HR colleagues. She started her HR career in 2002. After obtaining her Master’s in Business Administration degree, Christina joined United Technologies Corporation. She moved across the United States...

Christina's Full Bio

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