Multilingual Business Communication

November 20, 2008

The age of transparency: blog your layoffs

Filed under: employee communication, Lana Robignon — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:49 pm

Blogging has become a force to be reckoned with. Its popularity can be mainly attributed to the fact that it gives a voice to pretty much anyone who has an opinion about something. It has proven to be a useful tool in promoting products and services, building relationships and creating buzz. But blogs have also created some new challenges, especially for managers.

Professional bloggers (yes, they do exist) are closely monitoring companies and their blogs. Combine this with the fact that the Internet is filled with sites that encourage employees to sound off about their employers and share workplace rumours, and you have a recipe for communication leaks. Where layoffs were mostly a private affair in the past, times are indeed changing. In the age of transparency, layoffs are now being blogged. Bad communication you say? Certain CEO’s claim to have no other choice but to blog their layoffs. In order to counteract inaccurate information, they prefer to blog about it themselves, even if this means that certain employees have not yet been told they are going to lose their jobs.

To me, this seems to be a cop out by the management. Our lives have become so intertwined with the Internet that we see it as an answer to everything. It is true that companies can’t dig their heads in the sand and stubbornly ignore the age of the Internet. Nor can they control what bloggers are saying about their company. But, companies can control how they react to rumours and if and where they get validated. Decency and corporate culture should remain the focus of business communication. When faced with rumours, personal communication with employees through the management team still remains the most effective mode of operation in my view. Sharing information by using internal channels such as phone, e-mail or even personal meetings (gasp!) before posting layoff news on a blog, engages employees and shows that you respect them.  

(Lana Robignon)

Source: “In Era of Blog Sniping, Companies shoot first” (Claire Cain Miller, 4/11/2008)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/technology/start-ups/05blog.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

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1 Comment »

  1. I share your view on this. This new trend is scary because it gives the feeling that these days, nothing can remain confidential. Every single fact has to be put on the net, and thus revealed to every single person on earth.

    Why would employers ever “feel compelled to blog about painful news”, as the New York times article reveals. Why would a boss have no other choice than posting the layoffs? How could it possibly be a ‘part of the healing process’’ for the employees being laid off? Would this be a way to avoid having to tell the bad news to their employees in a one-to-one discussion? Or rather a reaction to all these websites which offer employees the possibility to leave any comment they want on their employer or the company they’re working for?

    Does this “solution” forecast the end of our conventional ways of communicating, such as the telephone, the post, or as I said, the real face-to-face dialogue?
    I’m asking you, is reality stepping aside for virtuality in the name of transparency?

    Comment by Marlène Bragard — March 24, 2009 @ 10:35 am


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