Is it appropriate to deliver sensitive business news via your Intranet?

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has sparked outrage after announcing that its 247 employees will find out the future fate of their jobs via the department intranet this coming Thursday, 26th May.

Proposed plans to close the department’s Sheffield-based offices and move operations to London triggered a staff walk out in strike this week, with PCS union representative Marion Lloyd referring to the use of the company intranet to inform of potential redundancies as “the final insult”.

A BIS spokesperson said the controversial decision followed concerns raised internally after the original announcement was delivered at a large meeting in the offices in January. In an internal communication to staff members, the department explained:

“Your feedback following the January announcement highlighted that different people prefer to receive and absorb information in different ways and for many people a large event can be quite daunting and impersonal.

“We are therefore planning communications sessions that are on a smaller scale.”

The “smaller scale” public announcement on the company’s intranet will be followed by individual briefings with bosses. If the executive board votes in favour of the proposal, the department’s Sheffield offices will close by 2018.

Intranets are a valuable tool for driving internal communication and collaboration amongst employees in dispersed locations. With the rise in social intranets, many host a diverse range of content areas and features to encourage engagement, utilising tools such as blogging and team areas as well as performing many key HR functions. However, in light of this decision we ask – where should companies draw the line and what, if any, communications should always be delivered in person?

How would you announce your next sensitive piece of company news?