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hi ann - great post. i always appreciate your insights. i'm so shocked that in that poll, only 7% said their orgs held workshops on 401(k) management. that's totally absurd to me. i pushed quickly and hard to make this happen for our staff as soon as things started tanking and i can't tell you how well received these sessions were. they might not have liked what they heard from our 401(k) adviser... but that's a different story. i have tweeted a few times about this, the need for HR pros to get on this... but maybe a blog post is in order. i'm totally disappointed with the lack of comms re: 401(k) to employees...


You make such an important point. Leaders hesitate to share information and news if they fear people won't like what they hear. "Like" shouldn't be considered a criteria for communication success, and certainly not the only rationale for communicating in the first place. As you note, employees may not have liked what they heard from the 401(k) advisor, but they appreciated getting the information.

Yes - a blog post! I will look forward to seeing your thoughts on FOT!

Thanks for the comment!

Ann –
Thanks for the reminder. You (and Tom) are so right… tough times call for stepping up communications 2X. Unfortunately, that’s often when managers hunker down and disappear.
Every leader, not just senior management, has the opportunity to get out and project confidence, optimism, and conviction.

Here's some more data, Ann. A study by Bain and Company of company performance during downturns found that more companies make major improvements in earnings during downturns than during good times. Of those that make the big improvement in relative performance, the majority maintain their new position through the economic calm that followed the downturn.


It is a paradox of sorts, isn't it? Just when people need most to hear from their leaders, those leaders hunker down and disappear. A shame and, as Tom points out, a potential wasted opportunity to get that drop.


The Bain data is interesting to note - it is unfortunate that it takes tough times to force some improvements, but I find it helpful and encouraging to find that those who accomplish see longer-term payoffs.

Thanks - both of you - for sharing your thoughts!

Interesting post Ann - thanks for sharing that piece of research. I shared your post with my readers in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2008/10/the-rainmaker-1.html

Be well Ann!

Chris Young


Always very cool to be featured in the Rainmaker 'Fab Five' - thanks for the recognition and the chance to share space with four great bloggers.

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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