Running into troubled times? Talk to your employees (Guest commentary)

Helping employees understand the risks of the business will prepare them for inevitable rough patches
By Gary Sutton
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/21/2006

Take a look at any mission statement. They’re full of words and phrases like: vibrant, entrepreneurial, collective skills, superior, innovative, most efficient, enhance sales, trust, commitment, confidence, secure, cost-effective, affordable, excellence, creativity, teamwork, advancement, value-driven, dynamic, free will, do good, customer-focused and management-driven, healthier people, cleaner air, human rights and stronger economy.

Most mission statements are just broad enough to dilute their meanings. Yet no harm is done since new employees, flush with enthusiasm, gain more by getting at least a general sense of direction from the mission statement.

While companies focus on communicating mission and vision statements to employees, they often fail in communicating the risks of the business. This kind of communication is no fun, negative and less inspirational. Less inspirational, that is, until the economy or the organization runs into trouble. And troubled times are when employee confidence matters the most and when employee communication can make the biggest difference.