Internal communications management and speech writing
Strategyfor communicating change at Westwood publishing
Jones (2008) defines a strategy as a “unifying theme that givescoherence and direction to the actions and decisions of an individualor an organization”. As such, formulating a communications plan forCassidy to deliver the lay-off news to Westwood’s employees musthave a direction and coherence, to ensure that the message that isdelivered is not distorted in any way. Given the weight of theinformation to be communicated, I would recommend face-to-facecommunication for Cassidy. It is acknowledged that the way in whichthe company’s employees will receive the news about the lay-off canhave a salient effect on their perception of the management.According to Paul (2011), employees would prefer receiving lessimportant information through e-mail communication.
Additionally, major changes, such as the one Westwood is about to gothrough, would threaten the employees’ sense of security andcompany relations. Breaking the news to them through face-to-facecommunication would lessen their reaction, and it would be receivedin a respectable manner. It is on record that face-to-facecommunication reduces employee resistance to change (Jones, 2008.Moreover, I recommend this strategy while taking into considerationthe company’s employee-management relationship. It has beendetailed that at one point, the CEO gave them a direct talk regardinglay-offs, where she discredited General Motor’s actions. As such,changing tactics and delivering the message through emails or suchnon-direct communication channels would be deemed cowardly, rude andnot in line with organizational culture.
How changes in the workforce affect how Cassidy has to think aboutcommunicating the new policy
Cassidy is in a position to realize that change is a never-endingprocess of any organization. This is facilitated by the contemporarycomplex and highly dynamic status of modern communications. Thecompany’s new policy will surely change its workforce. A fewworkers, from all stages of management and the workforce, are likelyto lose their jobs. Given this, Cassidy has to think about the way ofcommunication the new policy. There are those employees with whom hehas close connections with. In addition, there are those personnelwho are in high-ranking positions than him. As such, coming up withone strategy for communicating change would not be convenient. Hetherefore has to consider a number of options and decide on the beststrategy to communicate the changes in the organization.
He also has to conduct a SWOT analysis of the key communicationstrategies that are available to him to identify strengths andweaknesses of the company’s existing communication practices.Additionally, he will have to review whether to communicate thepolicy using the traditional internal communication strategy, whichwas reporting on the human resources area. This is to save him fromthe “Guillotine” situation that was spoken of towards the end ofthe case study. Additionally, he can balance out how to communicatethe information to senior staff, which is normally through corporatecommunication. Through such, he can come up with solutions forcommunicating the new policy, and if possible, make changes to thecommunication strategies that are available to him at the moment.
Advise to Cassidy about how communication to employees is structuredat Westwood
The company used the services of a small staff of communicationprofessional to handle its communication efforts. According to thecompany’s organizational structure, all communication isdecentralized. Additionally, the company’s employees met at townhall meetings in the major cities where it has its offices where theexecutives could communicate to the employees about. Therefore, thecompany’s communication structure may not favor the passing of suchcritical information.
This therefore means that he has to come up with a customizedcommunication strategy, which would not use the routes that have beendescribed above. He also has to take into consideration theorganization’s operations environment, especiallyemployee-management relationship. The company’s top management hasinstilled a culture of openness and flexibility throughout itshistory. Communications with the employees have been direct, andstraight to the point. Therefore, he has to avoid distorting themessage, may be as an attempt not to be viewed in a bad light by theemployees. Regardless of the way in which the employees may take inthe lay-off policy news, Cassidy has to be courteous enough to giveevery detail. For instance, he has to let the employees know that thepolicy is a board decision which has been facilitated by economichardships, and let them know that it may affect anyone, regardless oftheir position.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. From the onset, I would like toexpress gratitude to you all from the bottom of my heart for theunwavering loyalty you have given to this company, and for your hardwork which has put this company where it is. Were it not for yourinput, we definitely would not be among the top publishing companiesin this country. Over the years, we have developed as a team and aunit, through hard economic times, through turbulent business periodsand at last, we are all here, proud of our achievements. After today,I would like each one of you to know that you made this company whatit was today. It is with a heavy sentiment that I have tocommunicate to you on what the board has deliberated and decidedupon, and would I have any other option, I would not have settled onthis.
Ladiesand gentlemen, our company has been facing a number of operationaland financial challenges over the past few years. The board has comeup with a number of solutions, which I can say have not sufficientlyhelped us to solve the problems that we have faced. In the last twomeetings, the board came up with a decision to help the companyregain it position in the industry, and to prepare itself for theturbulent future that we can foresee. As such, the company hasdecided to lay off part of the workforce, as the solution to help usachieve the organizational goals. Ladies and gentlemen, the companyis going to have let some old-timers go. This is part of the plan forvoluntary severance and early retirement for some individuals. Thelay-off policy will not target any one level, rather, all levels ofthe organization, right from the top management to the bottom will beaffected.
Aswe engage on effecting this, the company has reviewed a number oflogistics to ensure that the employees who depart feel sufficientlyappreciated, and that their input is the one that has put thecorporation where it is currently. As such, the severance packageswill be reviewed by a selected committee, which will not only ensurethat the laid-off employees are served well, but to ensure that anylast minute decisions about the lay-offs are communicatedeffectively. We realize that the size of the severance package haslittle to do with any reaction that we may expect from our employees,but continuing a culture of appreciated is one thing that the boardinsists on.
Ladiesand gentlemen, allow me to mention the importance of the layoffdecision for this company. It is something I would call sacrificingfor the best of the organization, which has brought us all togetheras a family. The company is on the threshold of mislaying keyelements of its operation, more specifically finances. Through itshistory, Westwood has survived economic storms, which have broughtdown a number of other competitors. It was during these storms thatall the employees stood firmly and put in their best to save us fromcollapsing.
However, we are now facing the worst economic storm that the companyhas ever been through. The recent economic meltdown, which broughtdown a number of big corporations has made this worse. Therefore, theboard has decided to save the company by taking this extraordinarystep. It was by unanimous decision that the board decided that savingthe company and preparing for its return to the days of glory wouldbe most sensible. This is a sacrifice that not only saves thecompany, but also those who will continue offering their services.
Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to once more congratulateeach and everyone of you for your services to Westwood publishing. Iwould also like to extend a warm appreciation to those who will beleaving us soon. As you leave, know that your contribution was thestrongest foundation of the company’s current status. You are aninspiration to the young workforce which is expected to carry on yourtorches henceforth. As for those of us who remain, know that yourcontribution to the company is equally cherished, and it is ouroptimism that you continue serving with the same vigor. Thank you allladies and gentlemen, and have a blessed day.
Jones, P. (2008). Communicatingstrategy. Aldershot,Hampshire, England: Gower.
Paul, C. (2011). Strategiccommunication: Origins, concepts, and current debates.Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.