Best Practices

Right sizing

5 uses for communicating a re-org

Change management always requires careful and thoughtful communication. But when there’s a disruptive organizational change that involves job loss, getting it right is critical to maintaining trust and engagement.

Here are five thoughts on communicating a re-organization in a way that’s more respectful of employees:


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Humanizing leadership

“Right sizing” and other euphemisms that attempt to put a positive spin on layoffs can be offensive to employees. (I’m looking at you, “smart sizing” and “optimizing.”) The intent there is a good one, but it tends to strike employees as inauthentic. What they really want is for the company to be straight with them about what’s happening and why.

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Giving employees a voice

At Tribe, when we speak of transparency, we emphasize honesty and timeliness over sharing every single detail. Employees want to hear the truth, especially about the bad news. But if there are parts of the change that can’t be communicated yet, simply say that. If possible, let employees know when you expect to be able to give them those answers.

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Including remote employees

The rumor mill will be running overtime in layoff situations, so counteract that with a page on your intranet devoted to keeping employees in the loop. This is a good place to share the business reasons behind the organizational change along with timely updates as the process unfolds. Don’t avoid communicating because you think it will call attention to the re-org. The re-org already has employees’ attention.

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Taking a deep dive into a complex topic

Offer at least one two-way communications channel and put a process in place to respond. We sometimes recommend both a page where employees can post questions and read management’s responses, and a survey that allows employees to give feedback anonymously. Both these channels also provide a temperature check for hot issues that might need to be addressed.

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Eliminating concerns around bad hair days

Employees not affected by the re-org will be watching to see how the company treats those asked to leave. But they’ll also be listening for what they can expect in the company’s future. Engage them in the positive outcomes of the change and the opportunities it may create. If handled well, the change can build employee alignment with the overall vision of the company.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]