How To Communicate Big Change Initiatives

How To Communicate Big Change Initiatives With Employees

Ineffective communication and optics about the big change initiatives often result in a lack of clarity or understanding. As a result, employees begin feeling fear and anxiety — maybe about how the change affects them, their colleagues and their future at the company.

A lack of discussion over how the change will impact employees’ day-to-day work in a positive way undermines an individual’s sense of personal ownership of the change. Very few organization leaders view change and communication surrounding change as an opportunity to create organization-wide ownership.

How To Communicate Big Change Initiatives With Employees

The following is an excerpt from a whitepaper, titled How To Motivate Employees During Times Of Change.

Communication Goes Beyond The Masses

Communication is a chronically neglected element of executing a successful major change initiative. Although all aspects of the change, including the reasoning for it, the business strategy behind it, and the vision of the future organization once the change is implemented, may be obvious in the C-suite, it’s often those missing pieces that make rallying employees around the importance of the change difficult to achieve.

A lack of communication that covers multiple forms and mediums, including email announcements, group communication, and one-on-one communication, puts the success of the change being implemented at much greater risk.

Taking it one step further, top leaders who take the time to understand what motivates individual employees are better able to tap into these motivators and tailor their communication accordingly. Highlighting aspects of the change that specifically resonate with individuals will motivate them and go a long way in engaging employees in the change process. For example, while companies might select one mode of communication such as a mass email or large corporate presentation, smaller, more intimate conversations are going to be more motivating to individuals that highly value voice and participation.

Conversely, identifying groups that may be more resistant to change and stepping up the level of communication provides these groups an acute sense that they were considered, thereby promoting a feeling of being treated fairly. Even if they don’t support the change because of a perceived detrimental career outcome, the mere act of considering their views helps sway such individuals and combats their general tendency to resist change.

Individuals who are highly motivated by stability are likely to be resistant to change altogether as well. These individuals value a well-structured, unchanging work environment and tend to oppose any changes that threaten their sense of stability at work. Such individuals tend to become anxious and blindly resist change when it occurs, even if the change could potentially benefit them in a tangible way. Managers may falsely view them as obstinate or uncooperative without having attempted to understand why they’re acting in a resistant manner. For these individuals, focusing on how the change will offer greater stability in the future may go a long way in winning them over during large-scale change initiatives.

When it comes to both large and small in-person communications, selecting leaders who are widely viewed as authentic and who are highly trusted by organizational members is critical. This is especially important when teams are dispersed or physically difficult to connect with on strategic business issues. The individual communicating the change one-on-one will be greeted with more openness and listened to more attentively.

Download The Full Whitepaper

Download the whitepaper, How To Motivate Employees During Times Of Change, for more insights on motivating employees during all types of change.