It’s Not You, It’s Us: Communicating To Employees During Transitions

With a recession looming on the horizon, organizations across every industry are feeling the heat. The pressure is on to cut costs, reduce overhead and stay competitive as consumers tighten their own belts. The last month alone has seen numerous behemoths downsize in various ways: Starbucks laid off 600 employees, while Reed Elsevier announced plans to sell its Reed Business Information (RBI) division in order to divest of its advertising-supported businesses. Both of these announcements had huge communications implications, as each was followed by the execution of distinct employee relations/HR strategies with varying degrees of success. In Starbucks' case, one week after the layoffs, the coffee retailer closed its 7,000+ shops for three hours to conduct nationwide employee training to "foster enthusiasm" among its 135,000 employees (who were likely concerned for their job security) and "improve the quality of the drinks" made by baristas.

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