It seems like the news about the economy doesn’t seem to get any better. A year ago it was the instability of the financial markets, then it was the bail out of the automakers, not to mention rising unemployment, what’s next?

However, the ongoing bad news continues to create angst among the public, including your employees. What effects your employees personally will affect them professionally. More of your employee’s time will be devoted to talking about the bad news and speculating about the future, especially their own financial future as well as your company’s future. Not only will they be talking amongst themselves, they will be spending more time on the Internet trying to keep up with the volatile news. This will lead to less time being spent on the important aspects of their individual jobs.

There is a high probability that if employees continue this behavior, productivity will drop, leading to lower profits and a self-fulfilling prophecy of continued economic bad times.

Therefore, now is the time to be proactive in your communication to employees about what you and your leadership team are doing to shore up your company. The more they understand your plans for weathering the perfect storm and future growth, and how they can be part of the solution, the better the results will be. Clarity and consistency in employee communications is critical.  Leaders need to focus on being completely transparent and positive, and should not wait to deliver bad news. Your initial communications to your employees should include the following:

  1. The concrete steps you and the executive team are taking,
  2. How your employees can impact and improve business outcomes,
  3.  What your expectations are from them, and
  4. Recent sales wins and cost containment efforts.

From what the economists are predicting, it could be a long road to recovery.  Thus it is important that you communicate with your employees frequently i.e. more than once a quarter.

Leadership clarity not only includes consistent timely communications, but it also requires highly visible leadership. Your company’s message will be a lot more impactful if it is delivered by the CEO and/or President, either in person or by video teleconference, than if it is sent by e-mail. Demonstrating leadership clarity can turn uncertain times into positive action and direction.

Image Credit: The Stock Exchange ( User: bizior