5 TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING BAD NEWS
Many companies are facing devastating economic setbacks related to the coronavirus crisis and ensuing lock downs and will have to reduce payroll — in some cases, very quickly. If you’re charged with employee communications that will likely pull the rug out from under people, be sure to approach it as respectfully and compassionately as possible.
Here are five suggestions that could help:
1. BE CREATIVE WITH SOLUTIONS
If restaurant waitstaff can become delivery drivers, what other functions could your employees fill? Maybe you have some company projects or continuous improvement efforts that have been sidelined while you’ve been busy with customer orders. Perhaps you could repurpose employees to support call center volume or website traffic when your physical locations have closed.
2. OFFER ANY HELP YOU CAN
If you have to reduce workforce and can’t provide severance, can you furlough employees to keep them on health insurance? Could you shorten the workweek to four days and reduce payroll by 20%? Could you have them choose a few weeks to be furloughed over the next few months? If all else fails, at least help them with instructions on how to apply for unemployment benefits.
3. SHARE THE BUSINESS REALITIES
If the economic impact of the coronavirus means reducing the workforce is essential, let employees know as much financial information as you can. For instance, if your leadership is comfortable sharing the news that sales have dropped by 60%, tell employees that. Giving employees those sorts of facts can help them not take their job loss so personally.
4. DO IT WITH RESPECT
Keep in mind that these are the same employees who were helping your company thrive just a month or two ago. Most companies were competing for job candidates before this crisis, and hopefully will be again before too long, so treat your people as respectfully as you would back when you were worried about retention. It’s not the employees’ fault we’re in a pandemic.
5. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
Whether employees have been with the company 10 years or 10 days, they were hired for the significant contributions they’ve been making to the success of the business. Be clear that layoffs or furloughs are not a factor of employee performance, but of the economic realities the company is facing now. Thank employees and let them know their efforts have been appreciated.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
If you’d like to see Tribe’s capabilities presentation, please reach out to:
President and Chief Strategy Officer