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What’s the ideal time to share bad news with employees?

October 13, 2013

bad news

What time of the day do you feel all right to receive a bad news?

If you work in HR, there is no way you can escape this unexciting yet inevitable part of your job…Breaking bad news. Termination, shut down, relocation, negative performance review etc, there’s an endless list of bad news that HR has to share with employees.  But do you time your bad news? I was caught in a perpetual discussion today about what’s an ideal time to beak a bad news to an employee?

Is it late in the day?

While the practice of sharing bad news in latter half of the day is widely practiced but does this mean it will cause less disappointment to the employee? After spending his most energetic hours working for your company, is it OK giving your employee the bad news at a time when he is feeling self satisfied for his day’s job and is preparing for next day’s schedule?

 Is it on Friday?

Sharing bad news on a Friday will give employee time to settle with it over the weekend with time and support of his family and near ones is the common belief. But doesn’t that mean spoiling/ disturbing his relaxation time and plans? To the employee, it means limited or no access to his professional network (during the weekend) when he needs it the most.

 Is it at the start of the day?

Why not? After all an active mind and body deals better with negative news and circumstances. The employee will be more receptive and understanding to the alternatives provided (if any) and will have more time to choose their reaction, options.

 Is it at the beginning of the week?

How about doing it from Monday through Wednesday? Most of the HR experts agree that it’s a better decision as it gives your employee time to reach/contact his professional associates (over the remaining week) to discuss and look for alternatives.

Sharing a bad news is never easy and whatever time and way you choose, it is never appreciated by the receiver/employees. Despite this, how well you plan and how efficiently you handle your employee’s emotions and reaction afterwards does make a difference. What are your views on this?

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From → Brainstorming

4 Comments
  1. I think the best way to do is to share the news right away, with compassion and assertiveness..cause any kind of bad news would be hard on any employee, but still we’ve to do it, and we must.

    • Hry Nupur, I agree with you..the best way to share the news is doing it right away. Time it or not, its going to be tough on employee

  2. Priyanka Dutta permalink

    Nice read. I agree to what you have mentioned in the last para.I think there isn’t any best time for sharing the bad news because how best it may be timed, it’ll have the negative impact on the employee.The person is bound to be upset and this is very natural. However, based on my professional experience as an HR, I would say that what matters in such instances is how the news is presented,shared, justified. Giving a lending ear to the employee, helping him/her cope up with this situation shall to some extent ease the anxiety and shall have a better impact. Also, showing the employee how this can be avoided in the future; making it a didactic experience is all the more important. Coaching, guiding & counselling is very important in this context.

    • Thanks for sharing your valuable feedback Priyanka.. No doubt, coaching, guiding & counselling makes imp part of HR job & how efficiently an HR does this has a great impact on employees n org..

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