Engaging in Difficult Conversations with Employees During the Pandemic

As schools continue to grapple with the logistical and emotional consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the school community, including employees, this course provides administrators and supervisors with an understanding of the legal framework for communications with faculty and staff. Conversations about virus exposures, family and medical leave or accommodations, performance issues and disciplinary actions are fraught with both emotion and legal risk, and participants will learn ways to reduce the school's liability while navigating these conversations with tact and empathy. Taught asychronously with 6-8 hours of weekly instruction through videos and reading, participants will benefit from online discussion of the topics with the instructor and peers as well as live Q&A during office hours with the instructor twice during the class (on Thursdays from 3-4pm ET).

This course is being offered in partnership between NBOA and One Schoolhouse.

Course Schedule

Week 1

Approaching a Difficult Conversation

In the first week of the course, you will discover why empathetic communication skills are essential when having difficult conversations and will begin learning to plan for and engage in a difficult conversation. You’ll also learn about some of the challenges you may face when engaging in a difficult conversation with others and strategies for overcoming these obstacles. Conversation examples this week will include disciplinary conversations over Zoom and a confrontation with an untruthful employee.

Week 2

Empathy Without Exposure

In the second week of the course, you will learn about the legal risks inherent to difficult conversations and how to mitigate these risks while accomplishing your goals. You will sharpen your communication skills and learn more advanced techniques that will allow you to approach conversations confidently. Conversation examples this week will include a teacher who is afraid to return to school, a COVID-19 exposure notification, and an employee termination.


SHRM Information

Credit Hours: 12

Category: Critical Evaluation

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.


HRCI Information

Credit Hours: 12

Category: HR (General)

NBOA is a recognized provider of recertification credits. HR Certification Institute® pre-approved this program for credits towards aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification.


Email programs@nboa.org or call 202-407-7140


Nov 9 - Nov 20, 2020


Jan 18 - Jan 29, 2021


Cancellation and refund policies




Group rebate available

Time Commitment

6-8 hours per week for 2 weeks

Learn more about the platform and coursework

Class Size

Up to 40 participants

Recommended Audience

  • HR professionals
  • Business officers
  • School leaders
  • Administrators with personnel management responsibilities