In an uncertain world, change is pretty much the only thing we can be sure of. We all experience change through our lives and careers, but it’s easier for some people to deal with than others. While some embrace change and are inspired and motivated by it, others find it uncomfortable and unsettling. Some can even actively try to resist it. That’s why it’s so important for organisational change communications to be managed carefully and thoughtfully. You might not be able to make it easy, but you CAN make it less hard.
Here are our eight principles to follow:
1. Make your communication clear, open and honest
From the outset it’s important that business leaders acknowledge what they know, and what they don’t have the answers to right now. It’s OK not to know everything, as long as employees clearly understand the ‘why’ and can understand what’s driving the organisational change. Be honest, be transparent, and give your employees as much information as you can to prepare them for the journey ahead.
2. Define the destination and the current path
Your employees are much more likely to join you on this journey if they know where they’re going. So share your vision and long-term goals, or as much as you can at the very beginning. Acknowledge that the path to getting there may change, but the destination is still the same. Be open about the challenges ahead, and communicate it in simple language that your colleagues will understand and engage with.
3. Make your messaging tailored and targeted
Whilst the change taking place may be the same for everyone, for example a company-wide pay cut, you need to acknowledge that this will impact different people in different ways. So messages need to be tailored to different audiences, ensuring individuals feel like they’re being listened to and, more importantly, heard.
4. Keep your updates regular
Nothing makes employees more wobbly than the sense that they’re not being told what’s going on. That they no longer know where they stand. Regular updates are essential. With consistent communication aligning with the original narrative, and a continuing spirit of openness and honesty. Even if you have nothing new to say, telling people there’s no news is better than staying silent and leaving people to speculate and worry.
5. Explain the impact and the relevance
It’s much easier to keep colleagues interested and engaged if they understand exactly how the organisational change will impact their role day-to-day. For some it will be less than others, so break the change down for individuals and give them support and resources to adjust.
6. Get creative with your channels
People like to consume information in different ways, so cater for different audiences. Don’t be afraid to be creative as long as you’re also being sensitive to the subject matter. Mixing up different media and messages will ensure your employees don’t ‘switch off’.
7. Ensure leaders and managers are onboard and feel empowered
Your leaders are the ones who will smooth the path for change at a team and individual level, so give them the tools and resources they need to succeed. Their focus, consideration and positivity will inspire and encourage others to follow suit, so ensure they’re entirely equipped for the journey.
8. Celebrate successes
In a time of organisational change, it’s even more important to acknowledge the milestones and the small wins – these celebrations bring people together and boost morale, and remind everyone that even though you may not have reached your goal yet, you’re heading in the right direction.
Would you like help in communicating organisational change? Get in touch!
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