Change management plays a significant role in the growth, development, and evolution of an organization. Whether it is a big change or a small change, it would face various types of challenges. While implementing the change management plan, then it all comes down to communicating the change plan with your employees and team members. Today, we’ll discuss a step-by-step guide on how to develop a change management communication strategy.
How to Develop Change Management Communication Strategy
If you have got a change management communication strategy in place, then it allows you to successfully implement your change program. It comprises a documented guideline for all the processes about what message to send, when, how, and who to send it to. Some of the key steps on how to develop a change management communication strategy are as follows;
Establishing Communication Objectives
While setting up your change management communication, it is significant to outline your goals and objectives. Like;
- What you want to achieve
- How you’re going to achieve
- The responsible person
- How you would know achieving your success
For instance, if you are planning to change the company’s database software and your objective is to shift from the old system to the new system as smoothly as possible without any delays. It comprises transitioning from the old to the new system in various stages. It would impact employees’ capabilities because they were habitual to the old methods of doing things, and now they have to deal with the new system.
Conducting Stakeholder Analysis
Before discussing the change program with your employees and other stakeholders of the company; it is significant to know their motivation level, their concerns, wants, and what they like and don’t like. It is important to keep in mind that the change you’re planning to implement would impact different employees and stakeholders differently.
The best way to know your employees and stakeholders is to create their virtual avatar or persona representing different segments. They would have different traits, needs, wants, reactions, and approaches. It tells you how you should approach them and what to say to them.
Along with segmenting your target audience, it is significant to segment and recognizes your target audience. It allows you to share the right information with the right people at the right time.
For instance, if a company is going through a massive restructuring phase, a general message of a layoff would create panic in the entire company. A well-crafted and customized message would inform different employees about their change of work, and those who become redundant rather than sending one message for all.
Outlining Your Message
After setting up your goals and defining your target audience, it is now time to craft your message in terms of what you want to say. You need to craft some general and tailored messages for different segments of the target audience and stakeholders. While crafting your messages, you should clearly mention;
- What change means
- The affected parties
- Reasons for change
- When and where the change would occur
- Process of change
You should keep in mind the following tips while crafting your message;
- Clear, concise, and easily understandable message
- Warm, friendly, and engaging tone
- Open and authentic
- Transparent and clear
- Inform them what is happening and what it means for the employees and organization
- What types of steps employees should take
- Tell them about the availability of help and assistance
While crafting the message, you should keep in mind the resistance. The element of resistance would come from various stakeholders; it could be in the form of denial, resentment, grief, anger, and apathy if the message isn’t good. It is significant that you should recognize the element of resistance, and know how to respond to it.
Choosing Right Medium
After crafting the message, it is now time that how you are going to deliver the message to your target audience. Different employees and stakeholders have got various communication preferences in terms of medium and channel. While communicating the message, some of the main channels and mediums you can use are as follows;
- Corporate screensaver
- Digital signage
- Dedicated internet space
- Video content
- Face-to-face meeting
Content & Resources
For the guidance and assistance of employees, you should develop resources and make sure to create different types of content for various stakeholders. It is important to customize the content relevant to your target audience’s needs. Some of the key elements that you should include in your content are as follows;
- Internal marketing material
- Live webinar details
- Fact sheets
- Questions and answers
- Educational material
- General notices
The focus of your content and guiding resource should be on the change and how it would help the employees. The resource material should answer the concerns and fear of employees that are resisting change.
Top Management onboard
In order to successfully implement the change in the organization, you should have support from the leadership and management of the company. Employees would notice when the management is not showing commitment and interest in the change. It becomes difficult for them to follow and accept the change when they are already resisting it.
Everyone in the organization from top to bottom should realize the significance of the change, and they should adapt to the change and become its ambassadors. It is important for them to know what it is and what it means for the entire organization. The announcement of change shouldn’t blindside both employees and the management; otherwise, they would negatively react to it.
You should launch the communication campaign for the change message rather than doing it once without any follow-ups. If you have got the proper timeline and schedule for the change, spread the news of the change that when it would happen. It gives people an opportunity to become ready and adapt to change. You should regularly and continuously talk about the idea of change and answer the rumors if there are any.
If you’re applying change within an organization, then you should listen to the feedback of your employees and stakeholders. If you can’t negotiate the change program, listening to their feedback would give you an insight that how change is impacting them in their daily routine life. Surveys are a great way to get their feedback during the change process. It would help you to know what change means for them and how they are dealing with it.
Analyzing Campaign Objectives
Without including an evaluation plan in your communication strategy, you won’t know whether your change management communication strategy has been successful. The evaluation method also tells whether you have achieved your objectives or not. You should include both qualitative and quantitative data in your evaluation method.
Conclusion: Change Management Communication Strategy
After an in-depth study of change management communication strategy; we have realized that change communication strategy helps you to reach your goals and implement change effectively. If you are developing a change management communication strategy, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned step-by-step guide.
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