Effective communication plays a significant role in the growth and success of the change initiative. Businesses and companies employ various practices and strategies to achieve effectiveness. Today, we’ll discuss the top practices for a change management communication plan.
Change Management Communication Plan – Top Practices
Some of the top practices for change management communication plan are as follows;
Employing Right Sender
Various research studies on change management have shown that employees would like and prefer to hear about the change program only from the two main players of the company. They’re as follows;
I-People Manager Or Employee Supervisor
The immediate supervisors of employees are the right personals when it comes to sharing the change message and information that would affect them personally.
II-Senior Leaders or Business Leaders
Company executives and senior leaders are the right personnel to share organizational messages and business reasons for change.
One of the key roles and responsibilities of the change leader is to make sure that the sending personnel (senior leaders or employee supervisors) would communicate the change message or information effectively. It comprises crafting the right message in terms of what they should say; making sure the sending personnel are onboard and communicate consistently about the change; planning the sequence, and communication schedule for them. However, it is significant that you should prepare and train the sending personnel on how to deliver change information or message more effectively.
Answering Their Questions
When employees hear about the change, the very first question they would ask is why it is happening and why you are doing this. At this point, the senior leadership should answer their questions and share the company’s vision of what the organization would look like in the future after implementing the change. The focus of the project team should be on sharing the information relevant to the solution; the focus of the answer should be on what and not why.
The change communication should focus on answering the following questions;
- What the change is and why it is occurring
- Why change is occurring now
- Risk of not implementing the change
The change team and change leaders should make sure that they would continue to reinforce and put emphasis on the reasons behind the change throughout the project lifecycle. They should reinforce the significance of the change program throughout the process from the first communication to the implementation stage.
Highlight Benefits For Them
The most important and usual question that people ask is what benefits it offers them during or after implementing the change; if the change is optimistic and positive. Change implementation is a personal choice, and you should communicate with the affected person and answer their queries.
In order to impact their decision of supporting and participating in the change process, you should give them a solid reason that how participating in the change process is good for them. While communicating with them, you should tell them what’s in it for them.
When people hear about the change the first, it would baffle their minds how the change program would impact them. They won’t be able to focus on the details of the change program during the first interaction. You should make sure that the sending personals should repeat the change message multiple times so that they would hear your message whatever you’re trying to say to them.
Avoid Change/Project Manager
As I mentioned earlier that the people would like to hear about the change initiative preferably from the two main figures like Senior Executive or Employee Supervisor. The biggest mistake change leaders make is that they send change messages and information only through their change manager or project manager. You should avoid sending them exclusively about the change program.
Employ Right Medium
The other key element of effective communication is employing the right medium and the right channel for communication. There are different channels you can use for different types of audiences. However, some of them are as follows;
- Screen-saver messages
- Intranet Q&A forums
- Lunch and learns
- Focus groups
- Brainstorming workshops
- Face-to-face conversations
- Small groups
- Virtual or in-person meetings
Prefer One-on-One Interaction
When we talk about communicating the change program, one-on-one or face-to-face interaction is the most effective way to deliver the change news or message. Whether the face-to-face interaction or meeting is either personal or virtual, it is much better than sending text or email.
Focus on Two-Way Communication
It is significant that you should have two-way communication. For instance, senior leadership and executives of the company should directly meet with employees in small groups and offer them an opportunity to ask questions, share their concerns, and offer feedback. Two-way communication allows people to ask questions in real-time and facilitates the support and commitment to change from the team.
Resistance May Occur
When you communicate the change initiative with your team and employees, then you should be ready so that not all of your employees would accept the change. Some of them would resist the change and ask you difficult questions, and you should prepare yourself for it. According to the change curve of Kubler Ross, the change process goes through the following stages before it achieves the acceptance level;
- Shock & denial
Listen To Their Feedback
In order to make your change program successful, it is significant that you should carefully listen to the feedback and concerns of your target audience and employees. Change is difficult for them because they would lose some of their friends and colleagues. You can’t do everything by yourself, you need to bring your team and employees on board with the change plan.
The change leaders shouldn’t consider the change program as an activity like planning, delivering, communicating, and work being done. Rather they should communicate with the impacted people about the change initiative and motivate them to implement the change in their lives. It is significant to evaluate whether your target is rightly listening and interpreting your message. You can evaluate the effectiveness of your communicated message through the following ways like;
- Individual interviews
- Focus groups
- Communication surveys
Conclusion: Change Management Communication Plan – Top Practices
After an in-depth study of the top practices for change management communication plan; we have realized that communication for change requires a lot of planning and thoughtfulness. If you’re developing a communication plan for change management, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned tips and practices.
Ahsan is an accomplished researcher and has a deep insight in worldly life affairs. He goes Live 3 days a week on various social media platforms. Other than research writing, he’s a very interesting person.