Change communication is an important component of the change management success. If done well, it can be a major motivator to evolve. On the other hand, if a change is poorly communicated, it can break progress and even cause regression.
Let’s take a look at the main pointers of communicating change effectively.
Who Communicates the Change?
It is important that the leadership is the one to communicate the change. Doing so is vital for the team morale and structure. Leadership can refer to anyone from the CEO to top executives, supervisors, or the Change Management Team. Their job in change communication is to create awareness of problems and issues that need to be addressed and discuss, develop, and implement solutions. It is also important for the leadership to clearly and effectively discuss what the changes imply exactly (what is going to be different in the future) in order to help the team feel comfortable through any transition.
Keeping the responsibility for change communication at leadership level also helps maintain the hierarchy in a company. Employees will know who to look to for learning what is expected of them in the change process and who to go to if there are any questions or concerns about the guidelines.
Timing in the Change Communication
Consistency supports effectiveness. Staying in contact with team members and employees about changes is necessary to ensure that everyone is operating on the same expectations and guidelines. Being consistent is important to make sure that employees know what to expect from management, thus creating a feeling of safety in the work environment.
Another important thing is the communication frequency. The team needs to be aware that communications will occur regularly. Whether it is a Monday morning email or the weekly staff meeting, maintaining consistent communication frequency will assist everyone involved in transitioning through changes.
How to Communicate Change
There are several ways to communicate change. Group or team meetings and discussions, as well as presentations or demonstrations, work well to communicate change. Communication can be both face-to-face as well as written. No matter which mode you choose, the method should convey the information in an honest, non-threatening manner that is clear and concise.
Leadership should establish a communication plan from the very beginning and define communication methods. Be aware of verbal and non-verbal cues and body language while speaking with employees. It is important that they understand perfectly what is being communicated. Make sure there are no misunderstandings, questions or doubts – everything must be 100% clear.
Employees should feel as though they are in an environment safe enough to provide constructive feedback or to ask questions. Communication tools could include worksheets, training kits, and/or handbooks. Surveys can be done during this period and guidelines should always be available to provide structure for the work environment as well as means of documenting the expectations.
Change communication is the most effective when it is done consistently. It is best presented by leadership within the company, i.e. CEO, team leader, or a manager. This establishes the precedent for staff morale and team success. Leaders should establish open and honest communication not only to relay the requirements and success parameters but also to demonstrate that the workplace is an environment where employees can thrive and be successful.
Remembering a few ways to successfully communicate change:
- Group and/or team meetings
- Team think-tanks or discussions
Team leaders should enable employees to give feedback and answer any questions or concerns brought up during the meetings and discussions. Tools such as assessments, worksheets, handbooks, and providing overall training for employees can assist in the change communication.
Hopefully, these tips will prove themselves to be helpful in managing the change process and bending the circumstances so that the work environment stays a space where employees feel satisfied and industrious.