Communication Strategy - Points to Remember
Avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach to communicating change. During organizational change it is particularly important to customize and target messages to meet the needs of the different employee groups within your organization. Ensure Change Communications are Timely
Fast and effective message cut-through
Use Desktop alerts as an effective way to draw employees’ attention to important or urgent messages. Prepare and pre-schedule messages
Set up change communications in advance to prepare for, and respond quickly to, staff feelings and feedback. During change, pre-schedule messages to ensure that employees hear about changes at the same time that you advise the market or the media. Listen and Keep Listening
Gauge employee attitudes to change
Survey employees to gauge their attitudes towards organizational changes and assess how well they understand them.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Survey employees regularly as a temperature check and test that your change strategies are working every step of the way. Target dedicated surveys to specific groups of staff (e.g. to check whether you are making progress with a resistant group).
Use online discussion forums to run ‘virtual meetings’ where employees can share ideas and opinions and, if they need to, let off steam (which may be necessary during the ‘denial’ and ‘reaction’ strategies of the change curve). Let people post ideas anonymously to find out what employees really think. Use secure forums that allow you to moderate conversation and target access rights to specific groups of employees. Discussion forums let them post their concerns and comments (anonymously if necessary) so that you understand and can address the rumors that are circulating. You could even name a dedicated forum ‘the rumor mill’ and encourage people to post any rumors they’ve heard so that the business can confirm or correct them
Collect feedback and report on it
Include a section in the internal newsletter or a feature on the intranet called “Great feedback we’re working with”. Highlight how you are using staff’s constructive comments to improve the business and the way you manage and communicate change.. Ensure Face-to-Face is Effective
Ensure as many employees as possible attend face-to-face briefings. During times of change, it may be difficult to get everyone in a room at the same time. Provide alternative options for times and venues and monitor which employees are attending which sessions. This helps you plan your logistics (e.g. room sizes and catering) and close off specific time slots and locations as they fill up.
RSVP Alert Tool Example
Reinforce face-to-face executive communications
Get respected managers to blog about the change. Encourage staff to ask questions and raise issues both before and after face-to-face briefings. This will help managers address concerns and employees to buy into changes. Manager blogs will also help employees realize that managers are human too and that they are not forcing change on people simply to make life difficult.
Measure and manage information cascade
Measure how well your managers are communicating change with their teams. Use surveys and polls to understand how well each employee understands the main messages about the change and link the survey results back to individual managers as a measure of communications effectiveness. What gets measured usually gets focus and priority. Support Employees During Change
Provide employee help desks
Set up online help desks for when employees want quick answers to their questions. Ensure alert notifications are automatically sent to moderators when a new question is posted. Staff will see a quick reply as a sign that the organization cares about them. By contrast, a slow reply may fuel dissatisfaction and anxiety.
Make it Easy for Managers to Communicate Change Effectively
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