We all know that change can be daunting. Therefore, it requires the dedication and involvement of everyone impacted by it.
To attain this, it is fundamental to create understanding as well as certainty about the transformation process.
Simply conveying the information and implementation dates isn’t sufficient.
Understanding as well as acceptance ought to be obtained and fears and concerns dealt with.
This cannot be attained by broadcasting information in one direction. On the contrary, exchange and two-sided communication essential and ought to be sponsored.
An organized information and communication strategy needs to be developed and carried out. The following points are thus critical:
Identification of the various stakeholders as well as impacted groups of people
Segmentation of stakeholders by criteria, such as the requirement for relevant information information}, their sentiment towards the transformation, their trust in the intended transition steps, as well as the possibility to influence the planned approach.
Development of an information and communication strategy that is lined up with stakeholder groups.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind when crafting a communication strategy:
The greater the number of people affected by the change, the higher the likelihood for a spread of unfavorable perspectives towards the change.
The less trust in the change initiative, the closer the communication strategy needs to be lined up with the establishment of awareness as well as acceptance. This is just achievable if communication and interactions enable questioning, interacting, and exchanging points of view.
If the scope of the undertaking is narrowed, then people will feel more favorable towards the change. The bigger the trust in the undertaking, the higher the chances of a simple communication plan to suffice.
A substantial quantity of information and interaction instruments can be used to build awareness and clarity, such as:
Infographics or leaflets.
Articles published in internal magazines or digital communities.
In addition, it will be important to use mechanisms for to allow for discussion and exchange, such as:
Regular team meetings and get-togethers.
Project working sessions.
Townhalls (even if in virtual mode)
Online discussion forums.
Kick off occasions.
The success of your communication strategy relies on more than just a thoughtful plan. It is important to execute the plan well and collect feedback to adapt the strategy as needed.
A change like this won’t happen overnight, but with sponsorship from executive leaders, heads of departments and project managers, it will be easier to adopt the new, healthier behaviors. These leaders should also be available for individual interactions and to address personal concerns.
Furthermore, they must take advantage of every opportunity to raise awareness on the important and the urgency of the change and engage people in the upcoming reality.
When designing a communication plan, special attention should be brought to the need for re-skilling and training, including the extent to which it will be needed and the support that will be provided.
This point is a key element to build the internal capability and is not systematically addressed in change programs. You cannot count on team members to fully adopt the transformation if they have not acquired the new skills needed to its execution.
Likewise, if the kick-off of a new process or system is only communicated via email or with little opportunity for a discussion and exchange, the degree of adoption will unsurprisingly be mitigated.
Oftentimes proper time for socialization of the change is reduced to accelerate the deployment of a change program. Similarly, training is kept to a minimum assuming the people will understand how do perform the new tasks as “they are not very complicated” and therefore information is passed in the form of documents to be read with the aim of cutting down expenses.
This frequently is wrong and represents a huge lost opportunity to reinforce the chances of success. Developing awareness and engagement towards the new reality will result in reduced resistance to change and increase support from stakeholders.
While understanding the need for the change is the most effective strategy, it will not suffice for all affected stakeholders. In such instances, change leaders will need to also adapt the message from “desiring to change” to “having to change”.
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