Pay Frequency Changes: 3 Communication Strategies To Support Your Employees


Organizations make pay frequency changes for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s to harmonize pay across multiple entities or move to best practice, while other times, an organization’s pay date is tied to employee satisfaction and retention. Whatever the reason, it’s imperative to develop and execute a communications plan that explains why the change is being made and offers resources to support employees. 

Money is a delicate subject, and payday is what everyone eagerly awaits. So, if you are altering the way your workforce is being paid, like shifting your pay frequency from semi-monthly to bi-weekly, it’s critical to outline what’s changing and why so employees have ample time to prepare and adjust to a new pay schedule. It takes a few times for a message to be delivered, comprehended, and acted on. That’s why having a comprehensive communication plan in place is key to a successful rollout. 

Here are three key strategies to consider when making pay frequency changes.

1. Outline What’s Changing and Why  

The last thing you want to do is create ambiguity around payday. The most impactful plans include content that is clear, concise, and not ambiguous. To be effective, be sure to prepare managers and HR business partners to help support employees. Further, tap into a variety of communications channels because communicating multiple times and in multiple ways is a leading practice. Think email campaign(s), talking points and FAQs for managers to leverage in meetings or pre-shift standups/huddles, and messages on social collaboration tools. Also, remember that not all organizations issue company email addresses, nor do all employees have regular access to a computer (consider the manufacturing, retail, hospitality, health care industries and beyond, where employees are on the go and often not behind a desk). That’s why having printed handouts, posters, or a table tent with a QR code that can lead the employee to additional resources are important as well. 

As you build your communications strategy, be sure to address the following questions:

  • What exactly is changing, and what should employees know/do?
  • What tools and resources do we have for employees (i.e., financial wellness resources, bridge/transition loans, vacation payout)?
  • What do we need to create to help make our employees aware of the change well before the transition to a new pay frequency? 
  • Developing a strong, proactive communications plan will enable you to have a large number of resources to help your workforce prepare. 
  • Minimize jargon, acronyms and nomenclature that may be unfamiliar to workers. For example, when explaining a move from being paid semi-monthly to bi-weekly: it might be clearer to say, “pay day is moving to every other Friday.”  
  • Furthermore, you’ll want to define the timing for the changes well in advance. Some employers even build checklists to help their employees. For example, it will be important for employees to: 
  • Check daily /monthly / annual budgets
  • Review bill pay and savings tactics 
  • Adjust lifestyle payments as needed 
  • Adjust automatic online billing payments

2. Evaluate Key Stakeholders and Consider What They Need To Know and Act On 

Before you publicize the change, evaluate your workforce — what different groups and stakeholders need to be informed and when. 

For example:

Executives: Although they will be a part of the decision-making, you should summarize the details of your approach to secure buy-in and sponsorship. 

Managers: Prepare people managers in advance so that they understand what’s changing before employees receive the news. This helps ensure that managers can provide support and answer / redirect questions as needed when the information has been shared widely.*

*Disclaimer: Share and review your communications strategy, including the timing of the launch, with your HR and legal teams as notification requirements may differ by state and locality. 

Employees: Provide them information as far in advance as possible; consider that they will want to understand why their pay schedule is changing and how it impacts things, such as benefits and other deductions, time-off accruals, etc. Consider providing home mailers, printouts the employee can take home, FAQs and additional materials to help employees communicate the changes with partners, spouses and family members who might also be impacted depending on family dynamics and budgeting responsibilities. 

3. Think Like a Marketer: Support the Rollout With Clear and Compelling Content  

It’s important to use a variety of communications vehicles as part of your internal communications campaign. Once you have your strategy and plan in place, a best practice is to have a multi-pronged, multi-touch approach. 

Things like checklists, fliers, a payroll calendar, fliers, home mailers and information on Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources could help employees adjust to the change.

Deliver communications content along with interactions like electronic, print, and interactions (blog posts, mobile apps/texting*, webinars, portals, social collaboration, podcasts, video, email, infographics, posters, brochures, table tents, flyers, postcards, meetings, pre-shift huddles/standups, FAQ calls, change champions, manager huddles, HR business partners, etc).

*Consult your legal team on any compliance requirements

Planning your communication strategy can be almost as important as planning the actual change in pay frequency. Every employee in the organization will be affected by it, so crafting a plan around reaching everyone is critical. By crafting a multi-channel communications strategy, you can help avoid any potential miscommunication and help employees prepare for the change ahead of time. In the end, the goal should be to have employees see new benefits from changes to pay frequency. More flexible pay options can even help enhance an employer’s brand, helping to attract and retain talent as workplace expectations continue to shift.

How are you communicating your pay frequency changes to your employees? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .