Planning a Layoff? Better Plan a Blog Post, Too

There's no hiding in the Internet era, especially if you are a company with a tech-savvy employee base. According to a very interesting article in today's New York Times, companies are now being forced to write blog posts about things like layoffs as soon as they happen:
Blogging about staff cuts is particularly prevalent in Silicon Valley, where tech gossip sites pounce on every rumor and Web-savvy employees broadcast their every thought on personal blogs and Twitter feeds. Companies feel pressure to break bad news on their own blogs so that they can better control the message.

However, experts in human resources and public relations say it is only a matter of time before companies of all sizes and in all industries will feel compelled to blog about painful news.

"Control the message." I put that in bold above. Either you control your message (as best you can) or other people will do it for you. That was true before the Internet but it's especially true now and going forward.

This requires a new mindset, if you don't already have one. And it probably takes practice. Here's the drill:

  • Think hard about what other people might find interesting about your company
  • Be honest about whether they are likely to blog about it or release it in some other way
  • If there's any chance it could come out (and assume there is), get your messages together and figure out a way to get ahead of the story and tell it your way, rather than reacting to what other people say