Dear Bob ...
This may be a long-winded email, but I am really confused by a tactic that a CEO made at a company based in my hometown (which has a population of about 5,000 people, so as you can imagine, everyone knows everyone, and the opportunities are few).
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A group within the company was informed on a Wednesday that their area of the business would be outsourced the following Monday.
The manager of the team was told first by the HR manager, then the rest of the employees were informed early in the afternoon. After that, an all-employee email was sent from the CEO stating how hard of a decision to sell off the answering service was, but never provided a reason for the decision.
The communication process intrigues me. From speaking with people, I have learned that nobody but a few execs knew this was taking place. Now the CEO has a bigger problem because other areas of the business are concerned about jobs, and the newly outsourced team members have other family members working for the company. The company morale must be dropping to a new low.
Any thoughts on the rationale of why the CEO made a change in this way? I understand making changes; I just don't understand making changes without thorough communication, especially in a small town like this.
Unfortunately, I am missing the other side of the story from the CEO, so there very well could be more to the story.
Dear Puzzled ...
All I can do, of course, is to second-guess what happened. My best shot is that the CEO and confidants decided the risk of premature employee departures outweighed the benefits of communicating with employees. They probably figured that once they announced the outsource, everyone affected would start looking for a job, and very likely they'd do so while on the job. Productivity would plummet, they'd end up understaffed during the transition, and the only upsides would be improved morale and feeling better about themselves. It's a reasonable position to take.
The arguments against are, of course, equally compelling: By restricting knowledge to just a few insiders, the chance that the decision was made well was significantly reduced. By springing this on everyone with no notice, morale had to plummet, as you noted in your email.