These are about the scariest economic times any of us have ever been through.  It is sometimes hard to know how much is real and how much is hype which just adds to everyone’s anxiety.  Regardless, it’s tough out there.

I am getting more and more questions from clients and colleagues about how much, what, when and to whom to communicate about the challenging economic environment and its impact.

dilbert-strip

At Vehr Communications, we put together an “Insights” paper titled “Employee Communications in Tough Economic Times“.  Take a look.  Here’s what we touch on:

  • If you’re anxious, so are your employees.  Communicate with them.  In the absence of what leadership says, something will fill that space and it probably won’t be accurate or helpful.
  • Keep your messages succinct and clear
  • Be honest with everything you say
  • Be smart about what you say – owners and managers are still responsible for the business so expect what you share internally will end up with competitors or the media
  • Treat employees how you want to be treated – if you can, share news face-to-face, even if it’s tough news
  • Check the calendar – no pay freeze, furlough or lay-off announcements on “bring your kid to work day” – PR folks don’t need retainers like that

For owners and managers, listen to your HR people and check with your attorneys.  Importantly, involve your communications professionals, whether internal or agency, in your decision-making.

For employees, seek information.  Encourage management to meet and discuss.  Let them know you are anxious, too.

I hope this is helpful.  I would love to hear other suggestions.  Please recommend improvements to our “Insights” paper.

Post by Nick Vehr – 3.14.09

Advertisements