Announce Bad News to Employees • Example Letters, Guides and Samples
When this letter or memo becomes necessary, it is best to take a direct, open approach. Readers will respond better when they feel they are being promptly and accurately informed, even if it is bad news.
How to write this announcement letter:
- Be direct and candid in making the announcement, and explain the implications for both the company and the employees.
- Explain what is being done as a result of the situation, and ask for understanding and cooperation. Indicate hope, as appropriate.
- Give employees assurance that you will keep them informed of changes.
Example Letter #1
I am sorry to report that Doe Enterprises has not renewed their contract for the next year. Since 20% of our business was with Doe, the loss will cause us to reduce our staff. It appears that there will be a partial layoff in June, but fortunately this will be offset somewhat by a number of retirements this summer.
We are working hard to reestablish our relationship with this company and to acquire new accounts abroad. Until we succeed we ask for your understanding and cooperation. With your help this will be only a temporary setback. We will keep you informed with weekly updates on e-mail.
Example Letter #2
In order to dispel any rumors, the management wants to inform each of you that there will be no Christmas bonus this year. Because of the economic downturn, we must cut costs somewhere, and we feel that cutting the bonus is preferable to laying off an employee or reducing hours. Doe has experienced downturns before and rebounded perfectly well. We are confident this slump will improve as spring arrives.
Should any other changes arise, we will candidly inform you. Continue your excellent work and keep an eye on the future of Doe Technologies.
Example Letter #3
It is my duty to inform you that our parent company, Doe International, is instituting a "no flex-time" policy. I know many of us rely on the ability to fine tune our personal schedules; however, as of July 1, we will no longer have this convenience. I hope that all will cooperate with this directive and maintain good spirits. Believe me, you will be the first to be informed if this decision is reversed.
Example Letter #4
As you may know, a new state law taking effect January 1 requires that employers provide a smoke-free workplace for their employees. In compliance with this law, after the first of the year smoking will be prohibited at Doe Industries except during break time in designated smoking areas. We are sorry for the inconvenience this causes our employees who smoke, but we believe this will promote a cleaner and healthier working environment for everyone. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as this new policy is implemented.
Example Letter #5
We regret to announce that because of the untimely death of our company president, John Doe, our annual company picnic, scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled. We realize that this will cause disappointment, especially for our employees' children; however, we feel it is the best decision under the circumstances. We invite you to spend time with your families that day remembering John and the influence he had on all of us.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Be direct and candid in making the announcement, and explain the implications for both the company and the employees.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- Because of the military base closings in our area, we are no longer able to keep the Springfield store open past July.
- As you know, the severe weather during these winter months has had a significant impact on sales. We regret to report that because business has been so slow, we will have to lay off some employees until June.
- The new state law prohibits smoking in any of our restaurant areas. I know this restriction will present problems for some, but we must comply with it.
- Because building B does not meet EPA standards, we must close it until we can make the required changes. We anticipate that the renovation will be complete in four to six weeks.
- I need to inform you that, as a consequence of economic pressures, our company is merging with Doe Electronics. After the merger is complete, we can anticipate reducing divisions such as personnel and publishing to eliminate duplication of effort.
- I am sorry to report that we will not rebuild the warehouse that was destroyed by fire last week. Instead, we will use the warehouse in Springfield to handle our storage needs. I realize that this means the loss of personnel who maintained that facility, but we will make every effort to help them relocate.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- am sorry to report that
- am sorry to announce that
- as you know
- cause us to tighten our belts
- consequence of economic pressures
- destroyed by fire
- does not meet EPA standards
- eliminate duplication of effort
- has not renewed their contract for
- hit hard by cuts in defense spending
- loss of personnel
- loss is going to cause
- may be forced to lay off
- military base closure
- must comply with
- new law prohibits smoking in any
- no longer able to
- not be replaced
- offset by a number of retirements
- recent severe weather
- restriction will present some problems
- significant impact on sales
- undergo temporary layoffs until
- will be merging with
- will have to close down part of our operation
2 Explain what is being done as a result of the situation, and ask for understanding and cooperation. Indicate hope, as appropriate.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- We hope that most of the staff will be able to relocate to other stores in the Midwest, and we will make every effort to help. We invite those who would like assistance to contact John Doe.
- We will try to keep as many workers as possible on the job by allowing them to work in areas that have not been hit so hard.
- We plan to build a patio next to the restaurant where you may smoke outdoors. The construction will take two to three months.
- We plan to reassign full-time employees to other divisions during this time, but we will not be able to extend the same provision to part-time workers.
- We are asking each of our offices for a list of possible job openings that we could circulate among those who are affected by the loss of the warehouse.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- anticipate no reductions in staff
- are working very hard to
- ask for your understanding and cooperation
- believe that we will be able to keep on
- circulate a list of job openings
- expect to sign several new accounts
- help those who are affected
- if you could use assistance, please contact
- keep you on the job
- keep all full-time employees working
- keep as many workers as possible
- make this setback temporary
- most of the staff will be able to relocate
- plan to build a
- reassign employees to other divisions
- reestablish our relationship with
- regret that our part-time employees may have to
- to acquire new accounts
- will make every effort to help out
- work in less affected areas
3 Give employees assurance that you will keep them informed of changes.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- We will keep you informed of developments in our weekly newsletter.
- We will post regular updates of vacancies in other stores as they become available.
- As soon as business picks up, we will issue a recall notice to all who wish to return.
- You will be able to monitor the construction, but we will announce the first date of use as soon as we know it.
- Each of you will receive personal correspondence regarding your specific situation. If for some reason you do not receive word by July 1, please contact Jane Doe.
- We will place a list of employment opportunities on the board each morning, and provide free assistance in preparing resumes. See Jane Doe for an appointment.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- a list of job opportunities
- as they become available
- as soon as business picks up
- as soon as we know more
- each of you will receive
- expect to know the full impact of
- if you do not receive word by
- please feel free to contact
- receive personal correspondence
- regarding your specific situation
- vacancies in other areas
- watch the bulletin board for updates
- watch the newsletter
- will be able to monitor the
- will be happy to assist you with
- will send more information
- will post regular updates
- will be happy to answer your questions
- will issue a recall notice
- will keep everyone informed