During divestitures and acquisitions, messages to employees must remain positive, concise and clear. Don’t leave employees asking, “Why, what now?” Direction and detail are needed. Without it, internal communication may quickly become an external problem.
Employees need information to make decisions about their own future and their family’s future. Not providing at least a cursory acknowledgment of this fact will diminish you and your new company’s position as the transition progresses. Following are five tactics for communicating change:
Provide regular, weekly e-mail blasts from leadership describing the changing events.
Let employees know when major decisions are expected to be made; for example, communicate when benefit and personnel information will be released.
Encourage dialogue between managers and their teams. If needed, have leadership step in and directly communicate with employees through town hall-style meetings and discussions.
Create a channel for two-way, open communication. For example, create a virtual suggestion box or a forum for discussion between employees and leadership. Posts can remain anonymous for employees.
If there is no information available or something hasn’t been decided yet, let employees know that, but don’t keep them guessing. Employees who have to wonder about their future are not engaged in their jobs, and productivity and loyalty will be affected.
Involving employees is essential to creating a trusting and open environment where creativity and new approaches to problems are considered positives. During times of transition, encourage employees to become part of the conversation. When creating a communications plan for the transition, engage all the regular channels used to communicate to your external audience. Build a Facebook page, if needed, post to Twitter and engage with clients and employees via LinkedIn. Doing so will create transparency and should help your internal and external audience become more invested in the process.
Scott E. Rupp is a senior manager in public relations for Vitera Healthcare Solutions. He has worked in communications, public relations and the media for more than 10 years.