After a takeover, how can I calm the rumor mill?
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Dear Annie: Help! My company is being acquired by a much larger competitor, and while some layoffs may result, nothing has been decided. Meanwhile, the grapevine has gone wild, and the people who work for me are spending so much time comparing rumors that they're not getting much work done. Can you or your readers suggest a way to stop the rumor mill? -- Quiet, Please

Dear QP: Your employees clearly crave reliable information, so maybe you could start a weblog to keep people up to date on what you know--even if it isn't much. I recently spoke to Nick Jacobs, CEO of Windber Medical Center in Windber, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and an enthusiastic blogger. "The advantage of a weblog over sending mass e-mails is that with a blog, all the topics you've addressed are collected on one page," he says. (To see what he means, check out "Employees can respond by e-mail, and I get about 130 e-mails a day from it. Most of them just say, 'Thanks for keeping us informed.'" In May, Jacobs used his blog to quell a rumor that the medical center would be cutting staff. In fact, the opposite was true: Jacobs needed to fill about 40 new jobs. Once people learned that from his blog, they started recommending candidates; so far he has hired five of them--"and they are all people I wouldn't otherwise have known about." Might be worth a try.

Send questions to Annie offers advice weekly at