INTHEBLACK November 2023 - Magazine - Page 47
“People need to hear the facts in crisis
situations, so they can move their emotions
to a more rational space. Improving your
interpersonal skills by learning how to deliver
clear information authentically allows people
to process and understand the why, what and
how this will affect them.”
VANESSA VERSHAW, ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST
support structures. It’s not the greatest idea to
lose control over managing their emotions.”
Delivering bad news at the beginning of the
week it gives employees time to adjust.
Likewise, Herbert says if a company is looking
to restructure or introduce wholesale changes,
November and December around the holiday
period are best avoided for the same reasons.
When bad news affects all levels of a company
– threatening to radiate outwards and enter the
news cycle – leaders need to consider not only the
corporate reputation, but employee morale as well.
“Staff should get no surprises and always
know the facts before they see it on the news.
I use the analogy of dropping a rock in the
middle of a pond. You will rarely understand
where those ripples will reach out to and where
it will impact,” says Herbert.
If there are going to be redundancies, or
people’s hours are being cut, it is important to
make sure staff know that what is happening is
not their fault. Positive communication requires
management to tell employees that they have
been – and will continue to be – an asset to the
Vershaw believes that for the employees
who will continue to work at the company, it’s
beneficial to talk about silver linings.
“I don’t see this happening very often, but
when you do engage people in a conversation
around the upside of a crisis, such as releasing
more money for training or development, then
they start to move from despondency to hope
and more productive working,” says Vershaw.
The golden rule for managing company-wide
crisis communications is not to dig yourself into a
deeper hole. Come clean, respond quickly and take
responsibility for mistakes made, says Herbert.
“‘Integrity’ is a word that gets thrown around
willy-nilly, but ask yourself: what is the right
thing to do? Admit when you have got it wrong
and own it.
“If you regret that something has happened
and say that you will do your damndest to make
sure it doesn’t happen again, people admire
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