Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  Regardless of what negative situation comes your way, you need to be prepared to handle it. Mistakes can be valuable learning tools but they can also be costly to your company. If left unaddressed, they can damage morale, enable lawsuits, and even result in necessary cutbacks or layoffs.

So the question this week is how do you deliver bad news to your employees?

Today we tackle four tips on how to do just that while minimizing the damage as much as possible:

1. Don’t Delay
“Unlike fine wine, bad news does not get better with time. In fact, delaying the sharing of bad news can cause a sort of tornado-like rumor mill as employees guess, most times incorrectly, at what is truly going on and what is going to happen. When there is bad news to deliver, it’s best just to rip off the Band-Aid.”- Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO, Michigan Business & Professional Association.

The longer you wait, the more likely that rumors are likely to be created and spread around the office. When that happens, mistrust and unnecessary panic can spread. This is especially prevalent amongst smaller companies, so be careful!

2. Talk, Talk, Talk!
Nothing beats clear, direct, and honest communication. Whatever is going on, explain the problem, outline the short- and long-term solutions, and most importantly, relay the effect on employees and the company. Make sure you leave space for Q&A so that the employees feel heard. Also, seek feedback and make sure the communication channels are as “two-way” as possible.

3. Do What You Can
When the result of a situation requires layoffs there is only so much you can do. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you are helpless. When layoffs and cutbacks are inevitable, do as much as you can by offering job referrals, recommendations on Linkedin, and introductions to some other companies if possible. This helps those who are going to leave but also reassures those who remain at your company that you will take care of employees from start to finish.

4. Don’t Hide
The worst thing you can do is have a scapegoat give the bad news. There’s also a way to be professional without being too sentimental either. RadioShack was infamously known to be cold towards the employees they let go by sending a lifeless email. In more recent history, look to for an example of what NOT to do as he fired 900 employees over Zoom. Be as face-to-face as you can and don’t hide.

Now that you have these four tips in your pocket, you’ll be more than prepared to handle the bad news and pass it on to your employees should the time ever arise.

About Us

With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.

– Michael Monson
President and CEO
Top Talent LLC