Key tips for effectively managing business communications during change
All organisations will undergo periods of change throughout their lifespans. The changes may be linked to growth, acquisitions and mergers; restructuring or loss; or as an outcome of an employee engagement exercise. The objective of change is generally to make organisations stronger.
However, according to our very own Stuart Lindenfield (Head of Transition Services) this objective is 'consistently and repeatedly undermined by a failure to manage communication and to control the 'fallout''. The negative effects of change on an organisation can be minimised through thorough transition planning, and one of the most important aspects of this is managing communication.
Follow these five tips for effectively managing communications during periods of business change.
1) Be clear as to your vision
Have a strategy as to what the result of the change looks like, how the change will come about, from communication to implementation. Communicate your ultimate objective and all stages in between, in clear simple language. Employees must know where the changes are taking them, and what they mean for them, so that they understand the means to reach that end.
2) Be bold
Once the decision is made, be bold about it. Management of your communications relies upon the confidence of the decision makers. Never second guess ideas that have been committed to action.
A lack of confidence from management will be detected by employees and could lead to overall concern about the company direction and loss of motivation.
3) Explain & Equip
It is important to effectively communicate the reasons behind your decision. Focus on the benefits once the change is implemented and the opportunities this change will afford to your employees. You must also equip your employees to make and manage the change. Support may be provided in terms of practical training, questions and feedback forums, professional guidance or even psychological support.
4) Top-down Messaging
Employees will appreciate the import of any change far more if the communication comes from the top. If the CEO invests time to speak with employees during the process, this is likely to save them time and headaches in the long run. It also shows solidarity with those whom the changes are likely to affect most, and this is important for driving trust, enthusiasm and loyalty.
It is important to plan for the continued management of change. Without adequate momentum, reinforcement and training, employees may lose interest or resort to the old practices and processes.
Reed Transitions Services works closely with organisations to enable them to effectively manage organisational change situations, such as redundancy. In these cases, it is imperative to provide affected individuals with the means to progress their career, as well as to maintain the morale and engagement of retained staff.
The provision of outplacement support for individuals leaving the business has been shown to reduce undercurrents of dissent amongst those remaining. Our team has been professionally trained to deliver technical and practical career transition support to a diverse range of people from all industry sectors and functional levels and is able to advise on communicating change programmes within organisations large and small.