DO: Release information to all employees simultaneously. This will help to prevent the circulation of incorrect information or misperceptions among staff.
DONT: Release the changes externally before notifying employees, even if the news is positive. Companies are sometimes so focused on external perceptions of their businesses that they neglect to consider how the news will affect their primary stakeholders: internal audiences. Sharing information with employees first will create an environment of trust and ownership and will allow the appropriate time to mitigate fear associated with negative change.
DO: Communicate with employee spouses and families. This audience is powerful when it comes to garnering approval for the new program. Create a road map of next steps to follow so employees and their families can make educated choices and feel they are making the most of the benefit changes.
DONT: Minimize the severity of a negative situation. This is a very common mistake when communicating negative benefit changes. Companies try to gloss over the news in hopes of minimizing ill feelings or circumventing difficult questions, which ultimately leads to widespread confusion and mistrust.
DO: Develop a follow-up Q&A document with answers from questions employees raised in meetings and one-on-one discussions that management did not anticipate prior to the announcement. A concern of one employee is typically a concern of many.