How to Share Personal News With Co-Workers

When you have big news to share with your employees, it’s important to show them that it’s going to be business as usual

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As the CEO of a consulting and services firm, I had some concern about how my staff would react to the announcement that I was expecting my first baby. Would they see me as weaker? Would they think my drive might change?

Sharing this kind of personal information is, at times, uncomfortable, but necessary for the future of my business. Of course, CEOs are people too; they have babies, undergo treatment for health issues, get married or divorced, and even take time off. Yet, imparting big news, whether good or bad, isn’t something to be taken lightly.

How do you share personal news with your employees? I’ve come up with five tips to help based on my experience, but I’d love to hear your suggestions as well:

  1. Find a good time. There’s a dance between sharing too early or too late. If it’s too early, you are still processing the situation and determining how to handle things. If you’re too late, other people may have gotten wind of the situation and will talk; we all know how rumors can disrupt the workplace. It’s better for employees to hear it from you than from anyone else, so give some thought to the best time, given internal and external issues.
  2. Just the facts. Share only the facts of the situation. People will naturally have questions, but you aren’t talking to your best friend or sister. You only need to provide information on the issues that will impact the staff.
  3. Keep things shipshape. The way any kind of news affects employees has more to do with processes, procedures, and leadership than anything else…

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Marjorie Adams is president/CEO of Fourlane, a firm that improves the efficiency of client accounting departments.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

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