From acquisitions, to restructurings, management transitions, and diversifications, organizations continually encounter changes. How the organization communicates changes directly affects recruitment, retention and engagement.
Typical phases of organizational change:
1. Create awareness and sense of urgency.
2. Engage the culture.
3. Transform the culture.
4. Monitor impact and results.
5. Respond to feedback.
6. Sustain the change and commitment.
To set your communications strategy around the change, ask these questions:
• What are the business objectives with the change?
• How can communications help?
- Generate awareness?
- Educate and engage?
- Drive behavioural change?
- Mobilize commitment?
• What do we need to communicate to achieve our objectives?
• Who is the audience?
- What do they know/understand?
- What motivates them?
- What other changes have they been involved with and when?
• What is the best order to communicate with each audience?
• What communication tools/channels will be most effective and when?
- Whether an organization is small or large, private or public, the timing of the communication is extremely important and even more so now with social media and citizen journalism.
Change is a process, not an event and it is an emotional experience for those involved and people adjust to change at different rates. Therefore, it is important to have messages that help employees embrace the change. Following a framework helps in crafting messages around the change. Once you have the overall main messages then tailor for each audience to achieve a higher level of acceptance and engagement.
Change message framework:
• Provide background information about the change with reasons why and what the big picture vision is during and on the other side of the change.
• Present employee-specific information about the change including emotional reactions.
• Allow employees to provide input with questions, concerns or ideas about the change.
• Let employees know what is expected of them and what resources are available for support.
• Summarize and express appreciation in making the change work.
To learn more, attend the session “Communication for Collaborative Change” at the symposium “The Flexible Organization: Organizational Design & Change” October 15 in Burnaby or October 20 in Victoria. In the Communication session, you’ll learn how to apply a framework to the communications process. All participants will have the opportunity to participate in group exercises and discussions as well as be given a workbook with templates using best practices from IABC, industry research and case studies.
For more information bout the symposium, go to http://www.bchrma.org/