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How to effectively communicate during change

Did you know that 74% of employees think leaders need to do more to understand why people resist change? Yes, employees often feel reminiscent of change, especially when there isn’t clear or consistent communication. Having an effective communication strategy in moments of change can help employees fully understand the reasons for change and thus, motivate them to follow through.

Defining the vision for change

Before the leadership team starts communicating the change to employees it's important to understand why and how the change is taking place, here’s a roadmap to ensuring all aspects of that vision are being covered before launching your change communication strategy.

  • Define purpose and direction. Clearly define why the change is happening and specify how to align it with the organizational goals. 

  • Keep employees inspired and engaged. It's key to create a compelling narrative to highlight the benefits and positive outcomes of change. This helps create an attractive vision that motivates employees throughout the different stages.

  • Ensure the benefits of the change are clear and achievable. Set realistic expectations around change that can be defined in measurable objectives. The clearer the picture, the more employees will feel that the change is reasonable.  

These first planning stages must be thoroughly taken care of within the leadership team before the change is communicated throughout other levels of the organization. Once this is taken care of, we can start weaving an action plan to ensure communication is efficient.  

Key components of change communications

Beyond creating awareness, here are some essential aspects that must be present throughout all the different stages of communication:

  • Clear messaging. Remove redundancies as much as possible, and focus on the what, when, and where to better understand all aspects of the message.

  • Active listening. Ask open questions that employees can elaborate thoroughly on to make them feel that their experience is acknowledged. This is especially important through times of denial, anger, or depression (stages of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve). 

  • Consistent updates. Most change processes take longer than expected, keep employees posted about the change's progress to avoid confusion.  

  • Feedback loops. Actively take notes and incorporate employee feedback through all of the different change stages.

All of these aspects must be reinforced inclusively to ensure all team members feel part of the change. Messages should be consistent, engage all stakeholders at all levels, and be passed on through multiple communication channels.

Leading change in the organization

Leaders play a key part in ensuring that employees welcome change, here are some aspects you can incorporate as you lead change within the organization. So how should this change be led within the organization?

Leading change in the organization

  • By promoting trust and transparency. Leaders must be honest about how they truly feel about the change, this creates empathy within the team and not skepticism about hearing complaints.

  • Asking the right questions. Especially open-ended questions such as: What components of this change do you find concerning?

  • Raising awareness upwards. Ensure that all concerns that are raised are being attended to.

  • Serving as a nexus between the upper management and the other levels of the organization.

Effectively communicating during organizational change is crucial for fostering employee understanding and engagement. Implementing these strategies helps create a supportive environment where employees feel valued and are more likely to embrace change, ultimately contributing to the organization's long-term success.

Find more about Micaela Di Julio here.

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