Most managers recognize the need to overcommunicate with employees during times of change and upheaval. And yet many employees still report that they’re not getting the information they need.

But that doesn’t mean you should bury employees with a pile of meaningless corporatespeak. The information you communicate should be meaningful and relevant to employees’ concerns.

Five key elements

A study of companies undergoing major restructuring found that the most successful communications efforts had five elements in common. Use this list as a guide to make sure you’re saying the right things in the right way:

  1. Managers explained why decisions were being made. For example: “We’re merging with another company because the industry is consolidating, and we won’t be big enough to compete on our own.”
  2. Communication occurs in a timely manner. Example: “I’m handing out copies of the press release, which we’re issuing to the media right now.”
  3. Direct supervisors explain the specific implications of the change to each level of worker. Example: “This merger will give us access to the healthcare industry. What this means for the marketing team is that we’ll need to create new collateral for that market.”
  4. Important information flows continuously. Example: “As of now, I’ve told you as much as I know. As soon as more information becomes available, I’ll update you.”
  5. Employee responses are validated – that is, managers accept the emotions for what they are, not what they should be. Example: “Joan, I understand that you’re worried about layoffs. Those decisions won’t be made for a while, but I know it’s hard not knowing what will happen. As soon as I can tell you something, I will. In the meantime, I’ll share your concerns with the transition team, if that’s okay with you.”

Source: Mayfield, J., and Mayfield, M. (2002). Leader communication strategies: Critical Paths to improving employee commitment. American Business Review, pp. 89-94.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Rapid Learning Institute 1510 Chester Pike, Suite 310 Eddystone, PA 19022

  • Toll Free: (877) 792-2172
  • Contact Us

Connect With Us

About RLI

Read our Privacy Policy

RLI is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant. We're dedicated to protecting your privacy. We will NEVER sell or share your email address and will promptly honor all unsubscribe requests.

Read our CAN-SPAM Email Policy

Signup to Receive Industry-Leading Tips and News from our Experts