Change is hard. In a Tribe study of employees in large companies nationwide, 84% indicated that communications around major change in their companies were handled poorly.
What do employees want? They want to know the business reasons behind the change. They want to know how the change will impact them personally. And they want to know the truth, especially if it’s bad news.
Honesty is more important than transparency. In times of major change, we can’t always tell employees everything that’s going on. Sometimes that’s to protect the company’s business interests and other times it’s because so many details are still in flux.
But we can encourage executive leadership to be frank. If job loss is imminent, it’s better to say so. Sometimes that bad news can be qualified to lessen the blow, like you might say that there will be some job redundancy, but any job reduction will not be immediate. Or you might say that a certain location will close but many employees there will be offered the option of moving to another location.
In the same Tribe study, 19% said they feel corporate communicates “only good news.” By sharing the bad news as well as the good, you can actually build trust with employees. Even before you encounter a major change, you can build the corporate reputation for honesty by sharing news that’s not great, whether it’s a safety incident or lower than expected earnings.
Creating a sense of trust sets the stage for inspiring them for what’s next. What lies beyond any major change, even a painful one, is a brighter future. Help employees understand why this is better for business in the long run. Our goal as communicators of change is to engage employees with the new vision of the company, and the part they will play in its future success.
Have a major change you need to communicate? Tribe can help.