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The Deadly Sins of Employee Communications - April 18,2007
Sin No. 1: Not thoroughly communicating big news to employees—before alerting the media.
I think this sin is self-explanatory. How would you like to go to work one day all is fine and dandy as you have put in your respectful 12-hours, only to wake up the next day to a newspaper headline screaming that you no longer have a job because your company has been bought out by XYZ Corporation and thank-you-very-much but they no longer require your services? It has happened and there is absolutely no excuse for it. The article spoke to this example: “The CEO of a large company I worked for years ago announced to the media that the company would lay off 10 percent of the work force in the coming months. Employees were told about the upcoming layoffs, too, but not until a week or so after the external announcement.

When employees were finally told, they received no explanation about how the company would make the cuts. The result: “Many weeks went by while senior management planned how to make the cuts, and a lot of the best people began looking for jobs and jumping ship.”
The truth is lay-offs, cuts, mergers and acquisitions are a real part of life – it’s gonna happen. So what is the big secret? Trust me, your employees know about it already so might as well man up and tell them, quickly and in an effective manner that will lessen the raw wounds that such painful separation often gives.

Sin No. 2: Not keeping tabs on managers’ communication skills.
How many of us have had that boss from hell – you know Satan’s number one minion who you are convinced got the ‘supe’ job through some very foul means? (Yeah, you heard that through the grape vine.) So, with no communication skills and a sadistic mentally to boot, you the employee are literally screwed? Or to be more politically correct ‘you are caught between a rock and a very hard place?’

According to the article, “studies show that much of employees’ happiness in their jobs—and thus their productivity—is largely tied to their relationship with direct managers. Studies also show that many mid- and low-level managers have little or no communication training, and thus are poor communicators.” Well.. duh? I for one do not need a study to tell me that one. The truth is that senior management allows this kind of abuse whether through negligence or the fact that they too have their own problems and this one does not find its way high enough on their list of ‘things to do’.
The result of this situation is that: “Poor managerial communication creates unhappy employees, substandard [customer] service and ultimately, drives talented employees away, leaving only those who view the position as ‘just another job,’” “Everyone loses.”

Sin No. 3: Being a mouthpiece for management
For some reason (smile) management has gotten a very bad rap and no one really and truly wants to hear another word from ‘dem’. Could it be because they seem to keep all the perks to themselves, seem intent on making our lives a living hell so much so that from Monday week start, we ‘can’t wait till Friday come?” If this is the general consensus, why in the name of all that is holy and righteous would any right thinking communicator want to poke me with more information about management’s doings in the company’s news letter or via e-mail? No, you do not have to place the picture of the VP with the ‘pleased puss’ grin in the newsletter (every month) and tell us exactly how many projects he has started (were any of them successfully completed?). No, no, no this is wrong on so many levels. So, what about me? What’s happening on the shop floor level? You are more likely to find me reading the internal newsletter if I see something in it about me – the lowly ‘pleb’ or the innovative clerk in the next cubicle. If not you might just find it on said shop floor. Think on these sins.


 Posted Comments

Stephen's comment posted on April 25,2007 00:00:00

Hi Mrs. Nicholson, I just finished reading your first article in the Business Observer, and looking forward to reading and learning from your future articles. I just finished my first degree in marketing, and my present job is leading me into more communications work, rather than core marketing, but i guess there shouldnt be a difference. Blessings


Hazel Cunningham's comment posted on April 26,2007 10:04:20

Hi Mrs.Nicholson, I read your article yesterday.I found it to be very interesting,and informative.I'm currently in the field of communication. Looking forward to read the others.


Rohan Douglas's comment posted on May 29,2007 17:27:27

I have just read your article. Very interesting indeed. I am here in the UK and I hear people have been sacked by text message(SMS) via the mobile phone. Today's communication accepts email as ligitimate and legal in business. We just have to face up to the facts.I am not sure if it is acceptable in Jamica.With this new communication technology it is claimed to be more economical(they save ink,paper and time)And they tried to beat the 'grapevine' to it.


Roderick Brown's comment posted on September 01,2007 07:54:56

Hi Mrs Nicholson,thank you for informing and updating us on some important isssues in theworld of communication, Which at times our employeer's seems to over look, and we the employees dont seems to care or even value at times. Keep it up.


Karen thomas's comment posted on October 11,2007 09:55:14

Hi Mrs. Nicholson, you have enlightened me a great deal about the dynamics of corporate communications. I am nowhere in that field as yet but I do have intentions of entering someday soon I hope. I hold only a diploma in Public Relations and have ambitions of pursuing a degree marketing and or communication. Keep up the good work and thanks again for sharing your knowledge with me.


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