Communicating effectively with employees during a time of change
In this day and age, change is inevitable and organizations are constantly altering the way they do business to stay competitive and successful. While staff members have somewhat gotten use to the idea that things cannot stay the same; people are still quite resistant towards change. Whether you are an executive, manager or a front-line employee, we can all agree: change is uncomfortable and adapting to it can be challenging. However, with effective communication, organizational change does not have to turn into a sticky situation.
An important factor to determining your employees’ reaction to change is ultimately the way in which it is communicated. If you cannot relay what success will look like and who it affects – then you should expect resistance! Especially from those who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well. When an organization plans and communicates early and effectively with all staff members and fully explains the reasoning behind the change, employees are much more likely to buy into it. When it comes to change management there is no such thing as too much communication.
Secondly, use all communication vehicles at your disposal – email, intranet sites, internal newsletters and allow for face-to-face meetings to create dialogue and discussion. Depending on the size of your company, avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach to communicating. During organizational change it is important to customize and target messages to meet the needs of the different employee groups within your organization. Ensure to pre-schedule messages so that employees hear about what is happening at the same time that you advise the general public or media. Lastly, allow for feedback from your team members. Survey staff to gauge their attitudes towards the organizational changes and assess how well they understand what is being communicated to them. Responses can be collected anonymously to encourage participation. Keeping connected with staff during a time of change will help them feel engaged during an important time of transition.
An independent consulting agency that focuses on employee, team and organizational development, Sandra Summerhayes & Associates designs and delivers training sessions and seminars for various organizations throughout Ontario. For more information, log onto www.sandrasummerhayes.com.