In the unfortunate event that your company must reduce its workforce, an important aspect of your planning needs to focus on how you communicate the news to employees, both those impacted and those who remain. This article focuses on the latter group.
Effective communications with retained team members goes a long way in helping those employees stay focused, engaged, and productive during a challenging time. A guiding principle is that communications should be clear, transparent, and consistent.
Keep the Message Clear
Good communication begins with good messaging. A transition advisory team can help develop a core set of messages to communicate staffing transitions in concise, easy-to-understand language.
Communications should provide the necessary information about what’s being announced with an eye toward the future for those who remain with the company. Retained employees may be wondering, “Am I next?” Communicators need to acknowledge this fear and reassure employees that the company has their future and interests at heart. Specifically, messaging should include the reasons layoffs are necessary at this time, plans to ensure quality service without burning out employees, and assurances that the company is on the right path toward future success.
Communicating the steps you’re taking to support departing employees is another critical component of the messaging. Will your company offer custom employee transition plans to help departing employees navigate the uncertain landscape of the job market? Along those lines, providing assistance from expert career transition coaches, for example, underscores your commitment to affected employees by helping them focus on the next chapter of their professional lives.
After crafting your messages, it’s important to plan when, how, and by whom the information will be communicated to employees and other internal stakeholders. A detailed timeline helps ensure your communications are as effective as possible.
Communications planning should begin immediately once a decision is made to reduce the workforce. What, when, and how you communicate with employees about a layoff goes a long way in determining whether your company succeeds or falters. Make sure you have a plan for success.
Meet the Author: Lori Crimmins
Chief Human Resources Officer