Posts Tagged ‘employee communication’

Communicating Change

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Communicating Change

Most change in business is economy driven – whether an opportunity, a problem, or a crisis.  If you’ve managed a change in the way works gets done, you know that change can translate to temporary losses in productivity, time, and even staff or customers.  Exactly what and how change is communicated has a big impact on how the change is adopted.  And you want success!

While change definitely gets the headline, the hard part of managing change is making an effective transition to the new reality and new expectations.  Your communication will either support the change and the transition or create more resistance and barriers to the change.

Before You Communicate Consider:

  1. What’s in it for the people you are communicating to and other stakeholders?
  2. What can you tell them about the future? The Big picture/Vision.
  3. What can’t you tell them, why you can’t and when you will be able to tell them? Not
    everything will be known at the onset. How will you keep them informed?
  4. What needs to be done and when does it need to happen? (Goals, Timeframe, Actions)

When you Communicate:

  • Ask open questions that invite a thoughtful, specific response.  What questions do you have? Any concerns about the timeframe? How do you think customers will respond? Where do you think this will create the most challenge? How would you like to handle this part of the process?
  • Listen and respond to both facts and any individual concerns/fears.
  • Each time you discuss the change balance the communication by linking it back to: its
    purpose, the big picture, the plan, and the parts everyone will play.
  • As the change proceeds, announce progress…those first few steps are the path to
    the future.

Tip

When things are changing, increase communication!  There may be resistance to losing an old way and identity, fear associated with a new beginning (will I succeed?), and the disorientation that’s a natural part of transition. People may agree with the change, but personal transition is needed.  Keep acknowledging facts, respond to questions, provide reassurance.  In today’s market, be a change leader!

“Things are changing here”

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Growth, restructuring, reengineering all mean that ‘things are going to change around here’. You’ve invested resources, time and money to design the new business strategy.  The next step is developing a change plan for your workforce. Even positive change can leave people a bit shaken, uncertain. This includes your high performers, who will want to know how they fit in the future, what the changes are, and how they can get there. 

Here are some core elements for you to consider as you move forward. They will support maintaining a productive, motivated workforce during times of change and growth:

1. Share the new business plans with employees so they have a clear idea of where you’re going and what you’re hoping to achieve. Break it down to short and longer term objectives. Show alignment to your mission and vision.

2. Cascading from your business growth plan, map out what will look different as you move into the future in areas of people skills and behaviors; the workplace overall, and internal processes, etc. Employees get excited about moving forward when they see how they fit in the future and how they will be supported to get there. Also ensure employees have access to be considered for any newly created opportunities – developing and promoting internal staff reaps rewards.

3. Involve employees at all levels. They can identify opportunities, provide feedback, flag areas of concern, and participate in determining solutions that keep you moving to achieve your future. Being fully engaged in the process helps maintain stability of the workforce and keeps turnover in check. Current employees are also the ones you’ll need to source more staff in future. There is a labour shortage.

4. Maintain open communication; use your intranet site if you have one, plus email/voicemail blasts and face-to-face messaging from managers so all staff are getting regular updated communication from the top. Communicate often. Celebrate mini milestones. Be prepared to recognize staff as they achieve new goals.

5. Change is a departure from the status quo; it is not business as usual. Managers are undergoing their own change, but their primary role is to lead others–they are change agents. Ensure a cohesive, on-board management team that can discuss and work through differences within that team.

Only through an effective people change plan will the journey to really begin.