By Fleur Lavarack, Commtractor & Change Communications Manager.
It’s exciting to be part of the technological revolution and as organisations find more ways to innovate, many staff are faced with ongoing change.
What is change communication? Organisations use change communication to stabilise a workforce when things are changing. It will explain the reason for the change and equip staff to take advantage of something new. Communication can assist employees to adopt new processes and systems or in the case of a restructure, clarify the intended direction from the leadership team.
Why do organisations need change communication? Clear communication helps create a smooth transition. It protects employees from overly complicated information that causes confusion and slows them down.
Most change is undertaken to improve processes and save money. But there’s no point in rolling out a new initiative or system if staff don’t know it exists or how to use it. Communication can help staff understand that once implemented, many roles will be more rewarding with staff freed-up to be creative and provide a better service to their stakeholders.
Continual change can be tiring and cause change fatigue. Change fatigue is a physical and psychological condition that staff experience as a result of ongoing change. It leaves people feeling helpless. But appropriately timed, concise communication can reassure staff and help create a stable environment.
Typical change communication channels include:
· face-to-face briefings · videos · video conferencing · intranet items · Q&As · social media
Communication builds unity. It will explain why a change is taking place and assist in finding the ‘what’s in it for me’ for each group of staff. Communication often outlines how the changes will make the work easier, the organisation run better or reinforce the benefits of working at a particular place.
Restructures, mergers and acquisitions In organisations where staff have been made redundant, new staff are coming on-board and processes are changing, communication can help improve morale and retain good staff.
If an organisation is downsizing, remaining staff may feel overwhelmed with people taking on more work as there are fewer hands on-deck. People may be competing for remaining jobs. Communicators will help the leadership team to be transparent which will demonstrate that staff are valued and appreciated.
Once staff understand the direction and have been given the opportunity to provide feedback and express their concerns, the organisation can gain buy-in for the change.
In any transition, good communicators listen and respond to employees’ concerns. The feedback and insights can be used to identify ways to improve the process, refine the message and gain a better uptake from staff.
Once the change has been made, communicators can highlight areas that have been successful to show positive outcomes and survey staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the communication.
Creating a better workplace Employees are an organisation’s most important resource. When they are informed and empowered to do their job well, the benefits will flow on to customers and other stakeholders.
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