More and more I am hearing disconcerting stories of how employers are handling the tough topics that need to be communicated these days.
One friend of mine opened a company email on a Friday afternoon to learn that overtime for his employees will be eliminated as of Monday (please let them know before Monday), the 401(k) match has been discontinued and there will be a salary cut effective immediately.
Another friend was blind-sighted by a 200-person layoff one week after the company communicated that they were financially in good shape.
I've also heard stories of benefit cuts going out in email with no other communications and health plan benefits changed retroactively with no prior messaging.
Businesses are doing what they can to survive, but steps like this will not only create a disgruntled workforce; it will make it difficult to attract new candidates when the hiring starts again.
Employers should always be thinking of the best way to alleviate stress and worry among employees when the news is bad.
Advance notice should be given to any type of change to wages or benefits so employees can plan. And, no matter how bad the news, it should be disseminated by a human voice, either in a group or individually.
This gives employees the opportunity to ask questions and it gives the messenger the opportunity to express their reason(s) for the changes and their general concern for the employees.
At some point, the tides will shift again and employees will be pick and choose their employers. Employers need to do their best to keep morale up now, so they don't get left in the cold later.