Do You Know How to Communicate Change To Your Employees
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Copyright © 2008 Pat Brill
Do you ever find yourself confused on how to best communicate changes to your
employees? Here is where you need to do some serious brainstorming. Why? Because
it takes a lot of communication to make a change successful.
As soon as you know that you will be creating change in your department, you
must communicate to your employees so they know what is happening. You are
probably thinking...why get them anxious about the change when you don't know
all the details yet. They sense it already...as if the walls in the conference
rooms have ears. It's much better to hear from you and not from someone outside
the department or company.
Your communication plan needs to start right alongside the strategic
planning. Aligned your communication plan along with all the steps of the
project. Even if the change is relatively small, communicate throughout the
You will make changes as your receive feedback from employees and others, but
if you have a solid communication plan in place already, making minor changes is
easier. You and your employees have to feel as much in control as possible...so
no surprises if possible. This plan will not guarantee there are no surprises
but will reduce the possibility.
What you need to do is create a communication template and use it diligently
in all of your significant changes. Here are some ideas to creating your
-What is the goal of the change?
-Who are the stakeholders? (who is driving the change and/or benefiting from
-Who is the project leader for your communication plan?
-What changes will need to occur in the department in order for you to meet
-How long will it take to implement the change?
-What are the tangible results you would like to see from the communication
-Who will need to change in order to insure the results will occur? Critical
to know who will be most impacted as they are the individuals who you will need
to insure fully understands the change.
When planning your communication events you need a solid foundation for all
messages to your employees. Your communication must include clarity, consistency
of messaging, continuous communications, and a forum for feedback. You want to
insure that the information is received correctly and you are providing the
necessary details for the employees to understand and accept the change.
Note: Before you send out your messages, test the message with a few people
to get their feedback. You probably have worked on the message numerous times
and can't see the more obvious missing points. You need to provide information
in a language that people will understand. A fresh pair of eyes will be helpful.
Build a master list of communication activities that make up your plan. Here
are some sample headings.
-Create a list of communication events organizing them in the order that you
will distribute. Include date and how you will communicate the message. These
communication events will be aligned with milestones of the project.
-For each communication event, create a list of details. For example, who
will write it, what is the topic, how will it be distributed, and how will you
-Create a Calendar with Planned Events - you can visually see all of your
communication events and plan accordingly.
-How will you communicate the message? (verbal and written)
-Who is responsible to communicate the message
-Actual Delivered Date
Note: Communication Calendar - have one on the wall or close by so you can
see visually all of your planned communication events.
Make sure you mix verbal as well as written communication so that the
employee gets an opportunity to ask you questions and come away with more
clarity around the change. Create a script for your verbal messaging so you are
consistent with the written message.
Create several ways to receive feedback and let the employees know how they
can share their thoughts, concerns or suggestions. People handle their concerns
differently, some more outspoken, others more reluctant to speak in a large
group. If you have several venues for them to give you feedback, you will have
more information and fewer surprises. Here are some ideas to use for gathering
-1:1 meetings with managers
-Create a separate website for employees to ask their questions.
Note: A separate website can also hold past communications and FAQs for
Employees feel more comfortable when a manager informs them throughout the
process. They may still feel anxious about the upcoming change, and yet if you
are open, you build a lot of trust with them. When an employee trusts their
manager, they are more open to the change.
About the Author
Pat Brill is the author of the blog "Managing Employees"
http://www.ManagingEmployees.net . You can reach her at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-06-22 22:02:16 in Employee Articles