communication during changeCommunicating during change — what a topic. It is timely now because change is tagged as one of the top 5 issues corporate executives say they will be dealing with in 2020.

However, 70% of change efforts fail.  The primary reason isn’t what you think if you believe resistance is the reason for failure.  The primary reason is failure to communicate effectively during change, which creates suspicion and ends up looking like resistance.

There is no such thing as over communicating during times of change. In fact, it is even a more crucial group dynamic issue through times of upheaval.

Why is communication during change important? Communication is usually one of the toughest issues that organizations face on a day-to-day basis. It is also a frequent complaint that many employees express about daily group process.

With the speed at which employees can keep communication flowing, there is no reason to stop when the pressure is high. Need some ideas to spark communication in your department or company? Check out the tips below.

Communication during change: Do not worry about every single detail. 

Whether or not you have all the answers, change and change progress should always be communicated to your employees. Some people believe that until they have all the answers and know all of the details that they should wait to inform others. However, it is completely the opposite. Especially, when it comes to the workplace where upcoming change should be communicated to avoid chaos and misinformation.

For example:

  • Are you communicating what you do know?
  • How often are you relaying information?
  • Did you see an example of success on the other side of the change gap? What was it? Was there a benefit?
  • Are you honestly answering your employees’ questions?
  • Are you carrying information about your employee’s questions back up the leadership chain to the change management project leader and executives?

Information about the change you are trying to achieve will surface eventually. By communicating information accurately and in a timely manner,  you are upfront with your employees and honor their unique role within the company.

Communication during change: Have frequent team meetings or updates to keep everyone on track. 

After identifying the changes you want to see, it is time to get everyone involved. This means that employees benefit from being on the same page with the same understandings as your change execution team.

In the initial meeting, outline the change and co-create steps in the goal process so that team members understand how to achieve it. Making the change feasible and realistic helps everyone identify their role in the process and gives them purpose.

After this initial meeting, schedule follow up meetings or updates to stay current with what is transpiring.  Make sure everyone is on track.

For example:

  • Does the implementation team believe the steps are achievable?
  • Has a problem surfaced that could disrupt the time line?
  • Has the team encountered other problems with resources or support?
  • Are there opportunities to improve change implementation?
  • If change team members come from different departments, are department managers supportive? Does the sponsor need to call a manager to task?

Scheduling these team meetings and updates can be the difference between a dysfunctional upheaval within your company and a smooth transition into a new chapter. Be aware of your team’s involvement and maintain consistent communication throughout the process. 

Communication during change: Engage your employees in the current change. 

A single person cannot bring about change within an entire company. Times of transformation involve the whole workplace community.  If  your community is left out, the resilience of your company will be at risk.

Make sure to let everyone know what is going on and how they are directly involved. Do not just mention this offhandedly. Be intentional. Then repeat the message frequently and be an active advocate for the change.

For example:

  • Is there an employee that can take the lead in a specific area of the change you desire?
  • How can you involve more people on a daily to weekly basis?
  • Are your informal leaders and high potential employees engaged?
  • How are you integrating this change within the workplace culture?
  • Do employees understand what the other side of the change gap looks like?
  • Are psychological safety factors in place?
  • How are mistakes viewed? Are they welcomed opportunities to learn or viewed as penalties?

Do not leave anyone out. Change is a group effort when you want it to become a normal part of your workplace culture.

By leaving employees in the dark and not involving them, they will feel as if the change is unrealistic. They can also be afraid of it and throw up resistance. When employees struggle to see the value in the change and wonder if it will actually affects the success of the company, their resistance can shut down the change process. 

Communication during change: Make sure the change is attainable for everyone involved. 

Not all change involves the entire company. Make sure to identify who will be affected from a system’s thinking view point. Then involve them before announcing the change or making isolated decisions.

For example:

  • Will this change affect only a few people within the company?
  • Does it involve everyone?
  • What are the attainable goals?
  • How could the change process be derailed? What are the threats and weaknesses to the plan?
  • Does everyone involved know how to accomplish the change you desire to see?

These are just a few questions that you should be asking yourself when contemplating a change within your company.

Change varies from organization to organization. However, one thing does not — the need for consistent communication during change including change progress to everyone involved. Whether change is a minor shift or a major alteration, maintaining your communication plan is crucial.

Want to dig deeper into the topic of communication during times of change?

Check out the links below:

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Claudia Craven

Project Team CultureAbout TIGERS Success Series, Inc.

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