Communication in a Downturn

Effective communications in business downturns are critical to maintain productivity, competitiveness, and to retain employees

An investment in communications is small compared with the value to your organization of meeting the following challenges:

Maintaining productivity

Economic downturns mean uncertainty – and uncertainty is bad for business. Workforce Week reported in October 2008 that 48 percent of staff said that economic uncertainty caused them to be less productive at work.

Regular, clear, engaging internal communications play a big part in reducing uncertainty. During a downturn it is more important than ever to give staff a clear picture of the future, share information openly, and answer employee questions and concerns quickly and honestly.

Staying visible and competitive

When budgets are tight and the future looks uncertain a knee-jerk reaction can be to pull back to the bare essentials. Organizations may be tempted to avoid costs in areas such as communications at a time when effective communications are even more essential than ever.

It is important to maintain advertising and marketing communications expenditures in a downturn. Cutting budgets will only be a short-term solution and a false economy long-term, the brand will become weaker.

“It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”
Professor John Quelch, Harvard Business School

Retaining your best staff

Effective internal communications can have a positive impact on a company’s ability to attract and retain quality employees. Firms that communicate effectively are also four times as likely to report high levels of employee engagement as firms that communicate less effectively.

Outsourcing assistance with internal and external communications makes a lot of sense in turbulent times.