Change is inevitable, right? But let’s face it, nobody likes change. It pushes us out of our comfort zone, makes us anxious and creates uncertainty. Any company must confront transformation and changes at some point. Often though it’s a positive change: you’re moving to a fancy new office, or getting a new coffee machine! Other times, changes are more disruptive: you’re announcing a merger and there will be redundancies. Are you ready to communicate change effectively?
The days when employees would do something just because the boss says so are long gone. In the current business environment, labor mobility is the norm and executives must focus on the human impact when implementing their plans if they do not want to see talent flee. Whether the goal is to implement a deep organizational change, or a minor variation of the way working and tools, resistance to change will happen.
Managing corporate change
Involve your communications experts early and draft plan. To prepare for a smooth transition communication is vital. Your team needs to know what the changes are, and why it needs to be made; clarity and transparency will pay off in the long run. Don’t forget to also justify the plans, i.e what are the benefits for the company, AND the individual?
When drafting your communications plan, keep in mind these tips and best practices to effectively communicate change.
- Communicate early
Don’t feed the rumor! Many management teams avoid communicating change until everything is said and done. Remaining tight-lipped increases uncertainty and adds surprise to the mix. Get ahead and communicate change early. It’ll give you the advantage of managing expectations and show that you’re being as transparent as possible.
- Be honest and clear
Especially when your change could be perceived as negative, be clear and honest in your communication. Don’t sugarcoat it or use unclear jargon – your employees will simply see through this. Use simple, straightforward language to gain your team’s trust and confidence.
- Anticipate the root cause of resistance to change
Lack of trust in leadership or motivation, skepticism, fear… There can be a number of reasons why your team will resist change. Before the process starts, think which will be the main cause preventing your team from getting on board with the changes and identify how these obstacles can be overcome.
- Don’t forget to answer how will it affect me?
Address the human side, speak to the individual. Change is both an institutional journey and a personal one. Keep your staff informed and listen to their concerns.
- Use a variety of communication vehicles
Avoid the mistake of thinking work is done after posting to your intranet or sending a company-wide email. Communicate change over a long period of time and make use of different pathways, from face-to-face team meetings to newsletters or even video messages. Prepare a healthy mix of channels for effective communication. Redundancy and repetition will be helpful.
- Seek feedback
There’s no better way of engaging and motivating your team that asking for participation and involvement. Allow employees to ask questions and be ready to reply all of them clearly and honestly.