Even the most experienced sailors sometimes have to lower the sail. When an activity is not profitable enough and a site does not have enough workload or is no longer competitive, sometimes you think of closing one door and opening a new one. Again, communicating well is essential. It allows employees and their families to feel respected, even in a difficult period. It helps to promote and put in a different light the elements of the business that can still generate value: the brand, the machinery, the buildings, the license. It supports the conversation with public and private stakeholders, including institutions, trade unions and local communities. For entrepreneurs, it also means getting out of difficult situations with head held high, finding fertile ground and restarting with new projects.
When a multinational had started the closure of one of its factories in Italy, the communication strategy was to announce the news only after finding solutions to substantially mitigate the impact. In that way, the tension felt by employees, who continued to be committed to work until the end, was mitigated. The company didn’t suffer potentially harmful media attacks and the criticisms in social media of the company and its managers were vastly limited. Thanks to a strategy aimed at discretion and news containment, the closure did not have negative effects on the reputation of the company and the leaders who conducted the operation.
Discretion is not always possible and there are many cases in which companies have had repercussions due to news spreading, which have consequently had a strong impact both on employees and their motivation, as well as on a company’s image. This aspect is of particular importance in a context like the Italian one in which public opinion tends to focus on how Italian companies are being sold off abroad or are not protected enough to stimulate the country’s economic growth.
At Skippers Project, we have faced similar situations several times: we get on board to carefully monitor the state of the sea, understand what we will find along the route, work closely with the captain to develop tools and contents to preserve all that is possible of a ship that is encountering navigational difficulties.