Layoff Blogging - A Little Good News About Bad News
Category: Blog - December 05, 2008
Today's headline about job losses is startling: During November 2008 more people were laid off than in any month since December 1974. That's a lot of companies telling a lot of employees something those employees don't want to hear.
A New York Times article that ran in November describes how start-ups and large companies alike are now proactively sharing bad news like layoffs through their blogs. The article also reminds both types of companies they no longer control this type of news.
The thought of proactively blogging about layoffs probably makes many companies cringe - particularly those that have yet to embrace, much less push the edge of, social media.
Others, such as Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh, see bad-news-blogging as an extension of their communications culture. Hsieh posted a copy of an internal layoff announcement on his blog just minutes after sharing it with employees.
By sharing the story himself, Hsieh was able to quickly reach multiple audiences and demonstrate his commitment to transparency. And he was able to gather real-time feedback from those audiences, the majority of which was positive.
But that's a CEO talking about his own decisions.
Perhaps what really raises the cringe-factor for many companies is the possibility of employees taking bad-news-blogging into their own hands.
But when you think about it, employees have always talked publicly about layoffs, restructuring and leadership changes. It's the stuff of lunch conversations with friends and phone calls to former colleagues. The only difference is that social media provides employees with a more efficient and far more public way to have the same conversation.
If companies are concerned about what employees may say about their bad news, they now have another incentive to handle the news well in the first place.
By doing so, the external conversation may comment on the facts, but it likely won't consist only of complaints and speculation. And in a time of increased transparency, that's something companies should consider good news about bad news.
Kellie Due Weiland