Change is frequent within an organization. Whenever something is looming on the horizon, employees will look to you for information and answers. Whether this is layoffs, leadership change or simply rumors, you need to be prepared to foster an honest dialogue and share as much information as possible with employees.
Share What You Know
Even if you’re not completely sure of the exact steps that will be taken, explain what the final process is supposed to look like and what it might mean for them. Let’s say the topic is salary increases. Noting that management is looking over the options in front of them, but that decisions won’t be made until next year will give workers a stronger sense of relief. It may not provide much insight into the final outcome, but employees will feel better having some idea of what’s going on.
Listen for Concerns
Pay attention when you meet with employees to learn what worries they have. Setting up small group discussions with employees to discuss their concerns will help set in place a stronger peace of mind. Knowing their thoughts regarding the change can help you work to find out more information and allows you to share the details you think will quell their concerns.
Allowing employees to hear information through the grapevine rather than you is the biggest way to lose their trust and confidence—delaying bad news does not make it better. During these times, make communication with your team a priority.
—Adapted from Communication Solutions July 2015 newsletter, www.communicationbriefings.com