Change is unavoidable in any business organization. Workplace shakeups can range from a president's resignation to a corporate decision to shuffle health benefit choices. Even an announcement of a new way to purchase office supplies can send employees into a tailspin. A successful transformation in the business world is all about communicating change in the workplace so that employees stay right on top of the news.
Workers need to feel they have a voice when change is swirling around them. They want opportunities to ask questions and to probe their supervisors and senior managers on how these new policies or procedures affect them. Traditional newsletter articles, videos and email blasts may be informative, but these messages are one-sided. Interactive outlets like town hall meetings and on-site visits by key leaders go a long way in building acceptance. These open forums also can be eye-opening to the top brass when they ask for candid employee feedback.
The people who announce changes in the workplace are as important as the statements themselves. Corporate communicators typically draft notices that inform and explain. A more effective strategy partners professional wordsmiths with organizational development specialists who integrate a deeper focus on how this news affects employees and why they should embrace changes. Top leaders including CEOs can deliver powerful messages through meetings and blogs.
Nothing promotes a new way of doing things than a pat on the back from a high-ranking official. Workers understand the change process when they see their superiors and coworkers publicly acknowledged and rewarded for specific behaviors that show they are living up to management's expectations.
Communicating change in the workplace doesn't rely on a series of messages that tapers off into silence. Instead, change management must be ongoing. Effective leaders release a continuous stream of progress reports and new developments. They address rumors and recognize the fears and anxieties that employees often experience when their business world shifts during changes. A corporate chief can win workers’ confidence when she admits she does not have answers to every question but is actively researching and sharing her findings.
- Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images