Employee relations are especially vital during times of economic downturn, as the workforce fear for their jobs, while employers correspondingly fear losing their top talent as a consequence.
This chain of events can quickly transform a struggle into a shutdown.
During challenging times of dwindling resources, it is more essential than ever that communication is not allowed to wither.
The demise of Jessops was just the latest in a long line of businesses and their employees to be caught up in the negative effects of this recession.
For those companies forced to confront mergers, takeovers and potential failure at this time, communication is key. Sadly, it is an all too often underestimated part of the process.
Get it right and you can have loyal, contented and, more importantly, committed employees. That can make all the difference between a successful business and one that needs to be salvaged.
When employees feel they have a voice, they are easier to keep on-side in hard times. The more information you can get in a crisis the better, and who better to tell it like it is than employees working at the coalface of your business?
Employees are often disgruntled and angered not necessarily by the news itself, but by how it is broken to them.
You don't want to find out from a third party that you might be about to lose your job, rather than hearing the facts for your employer first.
Companies can and must engage with employees more effectively and in doing so prepare people as professionally and sympathetically as possible for what may lie ahead.
The right IT here does not cost the earth, and there is no excuse any more for companies not properly announcing and explaining bad – or good – news to staff in a timely way.
The latest-generation technology incorporates absence monitoring, intranet services, notice board features and so on. It can reap benefits for years.
What is best for one business may not suit another, but an integrated approach to HR with communication at its heart is a great place to start.
Bridget Stidworthy is customer services director at Chorus HR
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