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Never Stop Talking!

Communicate? We’ve Already Done That!Last week I conducted Employee Focus Groups for a client and the number one issue raised by the 80 Employees in the Focus Groups was the lack of ongoing communication with management. While the importance of ongoing communication between the workforce and management in this time of uncertainty cannot be underestimated, a majority of companies are failing to keep their Employees informed about how the Company is doing.  As I have stated previously, this is unacceptable. So, as a reminder about the need to never stop communicating, here are the Essential Principles of Ongoing Communications for the Recession: 1.      They Can Handle the Truth!  Everyone enjoys giving Employees good news.  However, it is more important for leaders to tell the truth and communicate bad news to the workforce in a timely and direct fashion. Your Employees can handle bad news. To treat Employees otherwise, damages the trust and respect the Company has developed with its Employees. 2.      Once Is Never Enough!: Just because the Company initially communicated with Employees about how the Company is doing in the bad economy doesn’t mean communication with the workforce is done.  Employees who hear bad news about the economy every day need to be told the status of the Company on an ongoing basis.  Otherwise, Employees will rely on the rumor mill for their information.  And that "information" will always be worse than the truth. 3.      Kill the Rumor Mill:  Rumors destroy morale and productivity. While rumors can’t be eliminated, an ongoing communication program allows management to respond to rumors so they do as little damage as possible. 4.      It’s Good to Be Seen: Seeing management in the workplace is reassuring to the workforce and it creates informal exchanges of information between management and Employees at daily kick off meetings or by sitting down with groups at lunch.  5.      They Need to Know What They Need to Know:  Don’t assume Employees know what you know nor that they need to know everything.  Employee need information about what affects them and so they can understand the situation. Address what Employees have lost or are afraid to lose - the issues Employees will talk about when you leave the room. 6.      It Needs to Be a Dialogue, not a Monologue: Ask for feedback and questions. Letting Employees talk and ask questions will make them feel better and will reveal what they are really concerned about.  7.      Everybody Wants In on the Action:  Employees want to be involved in helping the company survive. By always communicating a Plan of Action that addresses the current situation and tells Employees specifically how they can help allows Employees to positively focus their energy on improving the Company.  8.      Follow up: Keep coming back with updates and answers. Leaders don’t have to have all the answers, but they need to listen to the Employees’ questions and get the answers.   9.      Develop a Formal Communication Plan:  Without a formalized Communication Plan setting forth the "hows" and the "whens", adequate ongoing Communication about the State & Future of the Company will not happen.   The Bottom Line: Those companies that do not have a program of ongoing communications with their workforce will fail to thrive in the current crappy economy        

Question: Does your Company have an adequate Communication Plan in place that keeps the Workforce informed about the State of the Company on and ongoing basis?

Paul Glover, President                                                                                                                                                                           Go to for more information about Workplace Communications.