With Job Cuts, Honesty is the Best Policy

March 9, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey by a Princeton, New Jersey research group found that employees are twice as likely to work harder for their employer and almost four times as likely to recommend their company if they are satisfied with how the company communicates difficult decisions.

An Opinion Research Corporation news release said the poll indicates it may well be in employers’ best interest to make certain workforce changes such as job reductions are properly explained to their workers. According to the study, 44% of respondents say their company has reacted to the economic downturn in the last six months, while almost half of respondents gave their employers high marks for the way those actions were communicated.

The kind of communication most likely to receive a positive response from employees included:

  • Thorough explanations of the actions taken and the reasons behind the action (28%),
  • Being kept informed of ongoing decisions and reasons for those decisions (13%),
  • Providing early indications of impending difficult decisions so employees are not caught off guard (11%), and
  • Honest communication (9%) .

These messages can be provided through numerous channels such as meetings (19%), e-mails (17%), and memos (7%).

“Positive perceptions around company communications serve to both boost motivation levels among current employees as well as foster employee advocacy, ultimately resulting in a strengthened employee brand,” said Lisa Wojtkowiak of Opinion Research Corporation’s Employee Engagement Practice, in the announcement. “When the economic situation improves, this strong employee advocacy will be critical to attracting and retaining top talent.”

Bad Communications

Workers polled said they do not like:

  • Poor communication from management (25%).
  • Too many rules or policies (16%).
  • No or limited advancement potential (13%).
  • Not feeling valued (8%).
  • Lack of training (7%).
  • Unclear company strategy (5%).