5 Tips For Sharing Bad News With Your Employees

Aug 23, 2011

A sad fact of running a business today is often the bad news is as plentiful as the good-”cutting hours, laying off employees or even closing shop. Though your instincts may tell you protecting your employees from some of the toughest realities your business now faces is the best thing to do, keeping these things quiet may actually be the worst thing for your employees and your business as a whole, according to a recent All Business article by Emily Esterson.

“If you have been communicating the good news, the last thing you should do is clam up when times are bad,” Esterson wrote. “Uncertainty makes employees nervous and causes morale problems, which can result in them looking elsewhere for jobs. The trick to communicating bad news to employees is to be candid without being alarmist.”  

Esterson offered five strategies to follow when sharing bad news with your employees:

  • Answer questions honestly.
  • Don’t lie, sugar coat, use euphemisms, or otherwise mislead employees.
  • Present both sides of the story.
  • Invite suggestions.
  • Clearly explain any reorganization or actions that may take place.

“Remember, employees hate uncertainty,” Esterson wrote. “Honest communication with everyone can help deter rumor mongering, gossip and poor performance.”

To read the complete All Business article, click here.