In the last fortnight, I have heard about two organisations that, in the midst of major issues, have clammed up rather than communicated with their people. This is self-defeating and I’m really surprised it still happens.
Silence is far from golden in these circumstances. It makes people nervous that the company lacks control (or even has something to hide). It can lead them to fear the implications of what is taking place, for the company and/or for them personally. And it can affect commitment and focus at a time when the company may need them more than ever.
Employees may also be pressed for information or answers by customers, suppliers, stakeholders and friends or family. If there has been a wall of silence, they won’t be able to defend the company, even if they are inclined to. And without any information, they may end up making something up themselves…
So I urge any organisation in the eye of a storm to communicate with their people – sharing what information they can, when they can – to help protect trust and confidence. And to enhance their usual communication cadence for as long as it’s needed. Silence only breeds concern; possibly even contempt.