You can’t always help company rumors from starting, but you can control how to address them. Company rumors arise for a number of reasons: change in management, acquisitions, promotions, layoffs, etc. But whether positive or negative, you don’t want a fabricated or elaborated version of the truth floating around the company.
For the rumors that you can foresee, prevent them by getting ahead of the noise. Communicate whatever the announcement or change may be to employees as soon as you make the news public. That way they aren’t left to hearing important company news from a neighbor or seeing it online. This also creates an opportunity to build trust by associates knowing they can count on leadership to inform them when something is up.
For company rumors that are already in effect and need to be dealt with, address them as quickly as possible. Don’t continue to keep employees on their toes by sitting on your hands. The longer rumors are left untouched, the more they can spread and weave a more tangled web. By speaking to the rumor as soon as possible, you may be able to end speculation and possibly reverse some damage.
While addressing the company rumor, do so with transparency. Be open with facts that can be shared, or honest when you don’t have all the answers yet. Providing the truth and an explanation can help ease employees fears or apprehension about the future and should leave little room for interpretation. (For information on transparency, check out this article)
But don’t forget, transparency doesn’t have to mean direct and cold. Remember, you’re speaking with humans – ones that have helped your organization succeed over a number of years. If you’re communicating negative change that affects some or many employees, remember to do so respectfully and with empathy.
Need help with communications that address a company rumor at your company? Tribe can help.