7. Address your issues quickly and honestly

When THQ Inc. posted its fiscal 2009 net sales of $829.96 million, the company’s first year without growth in more than a decade, Chairman, President and CEO Brian Farrell didn’t ignore employee concerns. Instead, after making sharp cuts, Farrell faced the problems head-on and refocused his 2,000 employees on the task of returning to profitability.

“We saw that growth was not going to take place (in this economy), so we cut back,” he says. “We cut back quickly and aggressively. We communicated directly to the employees, very honestly, here’s what’s going on, here’s what we’re doing about it, it will affect jobs, you will be notified in a certain way.”

Farrell, himself, delivered the message.

He got out in front of the company and told his senior managers that cutbacks and job losses were coming. And to keep the process quick, the senior leaders set a date by which all cuts would be made and communicated that information on to employees.

“Do it in front of them at company meetings,” Farrell says. “… ‘Here’s what the issues are, here’s what our plan to attack it is, and here’s the effect on you. Yes, there will be jobs lost.’

“… It was no spin. It was, ‘We have to take some very direct and very deep cuts, but here’s what we’re doing and here’s why we’re doing it, and by this date, it will be done.’”