No longer a private affair alluded to in vague press releases as “downsizing”, big companies often blog openly about staff cuts.
Experts feel that companies of all sizes, in all industries, will also be blogging about layoffs in the near future.
According to the New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller, “Companies feel pressure to break bad news on their own blogs so that they can better control the message.”
Companies ignoring the blogosphere can pay a price for it, as the nation’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, discovered. A former employee broke the news of a 10% staff layoff on an unofficial Gannett Blog, just as the company was quietly telling its publishers. Gannett doesn’t have a company blog and never issued a press release about the layoffs.
Companies heeding the demand for transparency have found a sympathetic audience. One real estate chief executive blogged on the company site about impending layoffs. Instead of turning against him, 74 readers left supportive comments on the blog. “It’s been part of the healing process,” he said.
Many Web companies follow the transparency rule for their users, and have routinely blogged about company successes. With the economic downturn deeply affecting business, some of them feel the need to share the bad times with the public, too.
“A blog post comes across as more heartfelt than a press release with canned quotations”, Miller offered.
“Today, whatever you say inside of a company will end up on a blog,” said Rusty Rueff, a former human resources executive at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo. “So you have a choice as a company — you can either be proactive and take the offensive and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on,’ or you can let someone else write the story for you.”