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CEOs who participated in a recent survey conducted by Vantage Research agreed that an economic downturn isn’t the best time to make bold, sudden business moves. Instead, they advocate “hunkering down and building up the business” in tempestuous fiscal times like these.

The key to that strategy is communicating with staff at all levels, say executives who participated in the 2008 Management Action Programs (MAP) Quarterly CEO Survey.

HR pros can adapt that strategy for their own operations. Here are three guidelines for keeping the conversation—and information—flowing:

1. Fine-tune internal operations by bolstering internal communications. This, in turn, will strengthen the organization’s culture. 

2. Reassure employees by meeting with them frequently—in person—for updates about the need for layoffs or other staff changes. Nip rumors before they create panic.

3. Encourage your organization’s CEO
to speak candidly with employees—at least monthly—about company financials, results and strategies.

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