How to Tell Employees When You’ve Got Bad News

You have a problem. It might be that you’ve just lost a big client, or there’s a major production breakdown, or a key staffer is leaving, or whatever–but you’ve got a problem, and you need to tell your employees about it. How can you do it without demoralizing them and hurting the company further?

Most importantly, don’t put it off. There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by waiting. Rumors get out, and if you don’t tell your people what’s going on, they’re going to find out anyway. And if they don’t find out the truth, they’ll make things up.

If at all possible, make your announcement of the bad news in a face-to-face situation. If your company is small enough, you as the owner should do it yourself; if that’s not practical, have managers gather employees together and share the information. When people get bad news, they need the opportunity to react and ask questions, and they can’t do that if they just receive a memo or an e-mail. More details please visit:-

When making your announcement, tell them what you know, and be honest about what you don’t know. Once you’ve made your announcement, open the meeting up to questions. An announcement of bad news should never be a one-way transfer of information. In fact, you may want to consider planting a question or two so that people feel comfortable raising their hands. If you don’t have an answer to a specific question, commit to finding out by a deadline, and then do it. If answering the question at that time would reveal confidential information that you’re not ready to release, or perhaps that you can’t release because of legal issues, be honest. Simply say, “I’d like to give you those details, but our attorneys are recommending that we not do so at this time.”

When the bad news includes the possibility or probability of job losses, give people as much notice as possible (or as required by law). If you can afford it, offer retention incentives to encourage people to stay with you as long as you need them, rather than jumping ship at the first opportunity.

While the situation is being resolved, hold regular informational meetings and also talk to everyone informally. Make sure people are asking questions and getting the answers they need. If you have an employee assistance program (EAP) as part of your benefit package and it’s appropriate, consider using that as a resource to help employees deal with the situation.

Jacquelyn Lynn is the editor of Flashpoints newsletter. Flashpoints is a comprehensive information resource for business owners and managers who want to take their operation to the Flashpoint. Visit [] to sign up for a free subscription to Flashpoints newsletter plus an extra free gift: The Mindset of High Achievers by JK Harris and Jacquelyn Lynn.

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