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Apr 20, 2022

Change communications made easy

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Change communications have arguably never been more important than they are right now

 

 

 

Whenever a change is required in an organisation, people need to know about it. You’d think that was a given, but change is often an area of business that is not effectively communicated. Perhaps because people resist change, it tends to be neglected or communicated without transparency and clarity. Whatever the reasons, we’re here to help you understand what you need to do when change comes rolling around. 

Shifting mindsets

The need to shift mindsets is the biggest block to successful transformation. The key lies in making the shift both individual and institutional at the same time. To achieve this, communicators must first identify people’s limiting mind-sets, then reframe them appropriately, and finally, make sure that employees don’t revert to earlier forms of behaviour. 

Change management communication is an essential component of building awareness and support for organisational change. It helps stakeholders understand what is changing and why, and how it will specifically affect them. It delivers timely information and materials to support key milestones, ensures stakeholders receive consistent information about what is important to them, and provides a mechanism to share feedback and ask questions. 

Hearing, believing, living 

  1. Hearing
    The first step in the transformation journey is to make employees aware of the change. Because change is an emotional issue, this needs to be done empathetically and clearly, with no room for ambiguity. It is essential to provide the rationale behind the change – the what, who, how, where and why
  2. Believing
    In addition to highlighting the benefits to the organisation, it is crucial that employees understand how the change will personally benefit them (“what’s in it for me?”). Showcase the transformation in action and share success stories from across the business. Communicate key updates and encourage open, two-way communication. 
  3. Living
    During this stage, it is important to provide employees with the tools that they need to successfully implement the change. From toolkits outlining the new process steps or expectations, to illustrated visual maps and workshops, ensure that everyone has the tools they need to succeed.

change communications

Top tips for change communication

  • Create a vision for the future: Clearly define the change and vision for the future, and the reasons for it: What are the changes, who will they affect, when are they happening and (don’t forget this one) why are they happening?
  • Identify challenges: Don’t ignore potential problems or teething pains, because competent employees will anticipate these, and if they haven’t been addressed, this could cause resistance. Be open and honest.  
  • Define key messages: Everyone needs to spread the same message. Nothing sows discord quicker than mixed signals! Define what is being said, and when, so that all employees understand what is happening and have the same information. 
  • Identify stakeholders: Identify key stakeholders who will be most affected by the change. You need to know this so that you can identify the most effective ways to communicate with them. 
  • Choose the right communication channels: While email remains incredibly effective, make use of all touchpoints that can be used to deliver and reinforce messages including face-to-face meetings with management or team leaders, social media, videos, physical displays, etc. Consider creating a dedicated channel for the change initiative with fun aspects for everyone. 
  • Get buy-in from management: For change to be successfully implemented, you will need management on board. They will be the ones driving change and making sure new policies are implemented and adhered to. They will also be the ones facing kickback if the communication isn’t done right.  
  • Identify change champions: Change champions are typically influential and respected employees (they don’t need to be part of management). By identifying and supporting change champions, you can facilitate clear, concise, and direct communication. 
  • Capture two-way feedback: Give employees the tools and opportunities needed to give relevant feedback and encourage them to do so. Use this feedback to address issues that come to light. 
  • Make it personal: Finally, make sure that you target the people who the change actually applies to. If it’s not going to affect people in the sales office, don’t bother them with it. 

Change is a big deal, so make sure that you do it right. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, Engage Me can help. Say hello@engagemeconsulting.com for more information.

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