How to be the bearer of bad news

How to be the bearer of bad news

No one wants to go through redundancies at work, and while it’s certainly better to be doing the firing than being fired, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to tell people they’re being let go. Now a new guide is hoping to help companies reduce the stress on those who remain, and make it smoother for those who are leaving.

“Tellers expect a difficult time from employees at risk,”  the guide from UK workplace relations organization Acas says. “Yet even so, many still struggle to cope with the range of emotion they face and must confront, sometimes over months, on top of very long hours.
‘Tellers’ are the link between the decision makers and the affected staff, and could include line managers, HR executives or senior managers. Some companies choose to have close colleagues of the affected staff as ‘tellers’, but Acas suggests choosing someone with ‘emotional distance’ who will suffer less stress themselves from passing on the news.

It can be complicated being the link between employees at risk - explaining how the company's plans could affect them and dealing with the emotions involved - and then reporting back to the organization's top-level decision makers.

“How well the tellers handle the role can determine whether the redundancy process becomes more difficult, or goes more smoothly than expected. It can also affect how staff staying feel about taking the organization forward and how it performs in the future,” the guide noted.

The role typically last several months are often described as one of the most stressful times in a career, so be particularly careful choosing the right person with the emotional ability to cope with the role.



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