In this guest post from Alistair Kane, he offers some advice on how to communicate organisational change.
The quote “nothing is permanent except change” is especially true in the professional world. Big or small, change forms an everyday part of the business scenery and is key to advancement. But without proper introduction and communication, change can streak concern through an organisation.
People need to feel they have a stable, controllable working environment in order to be productive and happy. So when you’re planning, announcing and implementing new things, how can you positively communicate change to keep employees on side and supportive?
How to communicate organisational change? Remember, there’s no perfect way!
But there’s no worst way to do it either. The biggest mistake you can make when communicating change is not announcing it.
Ensuring employees remain happy and motivated in the face of change requires timely, informative and clear communication; whether in the form of emails, meetings or one-to-one discussions. Releasing official statements of what’s changing can inform and reassure employees at all levels that their organisation cares for them and their working environment, while minimising rumour.
Regardless of communications method, it’s crucial that workplace change is announced as soon as reasonably possible. Notifying affected individuals quickly is vital to avoid the alienating ‘shock factor’ which sudden ‘reveals’ can bring about.
Strong communications cause employees to feel connected and loyal as a team, so share plans ahead of implementation to keep people involved. Remember: you don’t have to share every detail, only what’s relevant.
Define what’s changing and what it should achieve
The unpredictability and uncertainty of change is what causes employees to become nervous. Poor change communications leave workforces unsettled and unclear, so define the key objectives and goals which you’re aiming to achieve.
This way you’ll keep staff informed as to why change is necessary and progressive; encouraging them to be excited by their evolving workplace.
Keep communications consistent clear and open to show you care
Uncertainty caused by poor communications can progress into rumour, speculation and negativity. If you are not quick and definitive in discussing change, you as a leader (and the organisation) may appear uncaring.
To avoid this, always inform workers honestly and openly. Let them know how change will impact them to maintain engagement and productivity. Most resistance to change occurs because people feel powerless as to the results. Counter this by listening positively, welcoming and considering questions, suggestions and opinions, and offering support (such as training) to those who need it.
Ultimately by keeping communications open, honest and timely, resistance and confusion can be minimised, leaving everyone within an organisation feeling positive, informed and in control of changing environments.
Author bio: Alastair Kane is a writer and business blogger and provided this article for Communicaid a cultural and business communication skills consultancy offering business communications training.