Communication tips for engaging people in business change
Changes are a part of every organisation. Unfortunately many change initiatives fail to consider how the changes impact the people involved, and thus most initiatives of this type fail. In order to make business change stick, to drive and enable successful change, the communication and implementation needs to take the people into account.
The message and actions of management must engage the members of the organisation, and get their buy-in. This involves incorporating the people affected by the alterations in direction or strategy in the design, and driving, of the implementation strategy. Involvement helps ensure employees at all levels of the organisation embrace, and become involved in, the proposed changes. Involvement also helps deal with fears, rumours and concerns about the change.
Be aware of the use of jargon and current “buzz words” which confuse the message. Business change stories of what is needed, where it has worked and acknowledgement of the “stars” of the organisation can help drive change. Keep it simple, add emotion and answer the “Why should I care?” question. Where positive steps are made towards change, praise those involved and use those actions as stories towards more positive change.
Managers are crucial to a business change process.
Management (through their example, empathy and facilitation of the process) are critical in delivering a clear message about the urgency, direction and steps in the change process. Change cannot be imposed. Leaders need to demonstrate best practice, not just dictate from on high. Change needs to be bought into, people need to be engaged in the process, empowered to find their own solutions and responses. Management’s style and behaviour is weighted more in the hearts of the employees than clever process and policy. Trust is a two way street. Management needs to be able to trust the employees will be part of the process, as much as the employees need to be able to trust the organisation.
Change is most successful when it is viewed as an opportunity to grow and evolve, rather than an event to be managed. In order to change clear communication is essential.
See also my 5 change management tips
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