Communication plan during transformation project
Communications initiatives must be enacted during the project to motivate employees to take ownership of the change. The 4-Factor model posits that the purpose of a communication plan is to move your staff through the following stages:
- Awareness: Introduce the idea of the change throughout the corporate hierarchy. You need to manage employee expectations and detail the list of positive benefits the change will foster within the company.
- Understanding: Go into more detail about the change and how it will affect both teams and individuals. Prepare employees for any potential issues and deal with problem areas before any toxicity occurs.
- Acceptance: Empower employees to manifest the change and see the benefits. They will move past any anxiety or misgivings.
- Ownership: Give praise and credit to the team members who made positive contributions during the project phase once the change is implemented. When doing so, emphasize that your staff made it possible as a result of their buy-in and participation. This will prepare them for future changes, which will be smoother to implement because they will already have been through the process before.
Implementing a change management plan can take weeks or months to navigate, but as long as you plot your progress along the way, you’ll be able to harness various techniques to keep the momentum moving forward to completion.
So, what are some ways to communicate effectively during organizational change? Here are our top practical tips to maintain effective communication throughout a major change:
1. Communicate consistently
A major source of pushback from employees is fear of the unknown. They may not understand why the change is being implemented and what it means for their job security. It is important to be open and honest throughout the entire process and communicate with them on a regular basis with updates.
2. Use multiple communication channels
There are many ways to communicate with your employees. Since individual employees will respond better to different methods than others, be sure not to rely on a singular channel. Send frequent emails, create videos, hold in-person chat sessions and more. This is where having a tool like a social intranet can help. You can use it as a portal to schedule emails, make internal web pages, attach rich media content and incorporate social media functions to engage your staff on a deeper level.
3. Allow for and incorporate feedback
Many workers get stressed when they feel there is no outlet for feedback or their feedback is not being taken seriously. Be open to adjusting your change implementation when necessary based on the feedback received. There are always external factors that haven’t been considered. When these occur, do not ignore them. Applications such as social internets can help you integrate surveys and other feedback tools to adjust to any of those external factors while making collection and analysis of how your employees are responding much easier to quantify.
4. Be honest
It isn’t a crime to not know an answer. Being too aloof will lower confidence in leadership, and exaggerating or distorting the truth to appear more knowledgeable has a much greater chance to backfire. If you don’t know an answer to an employee question, just say so. Then research it and get back to the person as soon as possible. Remember, if your answer is too vague or turns out to be untrue, your people won’t be able to take you at your word on future questions. Remember, a leader is only as good as their credibility. You can maintain it most effectively by being open, honest and transparent.
5. Review progress publicly
Change is a journey, and like any journey, people need to know where they’re at and when they will reach their destination or else they’ll get restless. Chart your progress and share it with your employees on a regular basis. Be open about roadblocks and what leadership is doing to move past them. The bottom line is nobody wants to feel lost and out of control. Technology tools like social intranets provide a fantastic framework from which to share information and keep everyone up-to-date on your progress along the way. Targeted data and reaching key milestones can be documented and sent to specific teams so that everyone always knows exactly where they are in the process.
An arduous but necessary journey
As we said at the beginning of this piece, change is inevitable in your business and social life. However, the businesses that have the best plans and technology for implementing organizational change will adapt more quickly and perform better than their peers. LumApps social intranet is an amazing tool for fostering change efficiently throughout all levels of your company. If you’re interested in its features and how it can help you, contact us for a demonstration.