Communication is one of the toughest issues in an organization. Although you can never make everyone completely happy when managing change, research does provide some broad suggestions as to how to communicate in a way to facilitate effective change management. What are some key communication strategies when leading change initiatives?
- Clearly communicate the vision, mission, and objectives of the change effort. In other words, help individuals understand the big picture and the impact it will have on them.
- Communicate consistently and frequently through various channels such as speaking, writing, training, focus groups, and intranets.
- Provide adequate time for individuals to ask questions, request clarification, and provide their input.
- Recognize that communication is a two-way process or conversation rather than a presentation. Leaders should spend some time creating a dialogue with those who will be impacted by the change.
- Help individuals understand the WHY behind the change. For example, what is the context, the purpose and the need for the change.
- Demonstrate proactive rather than reactive communication to prevent rumor mill conversations.
- Leaders should be available to employees when possible. Provide answers to questions only if you know the answer. Otherwise, be honest and say you don’t know but you will get back to them. Avoid being defensive and making excuses.
- Create formal and informal networking opportunities for employees to share ideas concerning the change. Hold forums and interactive workshops where employees can explore changes together.
- Communicate publically how the organization will chart progress, or measure the change effort.
- Publicize rewards and recognition for employees who demonstrate positive approaches to change. Celebrate the small successes.
You cannot over communicate when asking an organization to change. Click here for more information on leading change in the workplace.