Any business transformation, regardless of how big or small, will benefit from bringing in internal communications from the start. Here are #3FastFacts on how to engage internal comms as a strategic partner early on, create people-first, human-centric messages, and plan to be proactive AND reactive to avoid the typical business transformation pitfalls.
Too often during organizational changes, the Internal Communications team is brought in after all the decisions and plans have been made. This is a huge miss. Internal Communications should be more than just a passive participant. They should be a strategic thought partner in shaping your organization’s change communications.
So here are three fast facts about how to best leverage your Internal Communications team during a change.
Communication teams are in tune with employees. They know the preferred channels and how employees may react to information. When creating your change management strategy, communications can use insider knowledge on when and how to best reach employees. And don’t forget, your communications team can help craft a compelling story about your evolution to get leaders aligned from the start and plan communication touch points along the journey.
The first question every employee asks when they learn about new changes is “what does this mean for me?” Consider what it would be like to learn about a major change from a leader you’ve never even met or through an email that doesn’t explain why the change is happening.
What you communicate is important, but how you communicate is critical and will often dictate the amount of resistance employees have during a change. Your communications function can help shape people-first human centric messaging during times of uncertainty.
People-first communications are simple, authentic and transparent, and honest. Even when details of the change are still unknown.
During org transformations, your change management team will likely default to thinking proactively. What’s the plan? What are the steps that we need to take? And of course, this is totally critical. But thinking reactively can be just as critical, and your internal comms team can be a great partner with that.
No matter how perfect your change management plan seems, there will always be unexpected consequences. Such as information gets out too early or is incomplete, leaders don’t cascade the message in a uniform way, leading to different understandings of the change, or the media spins the news in a way that leaves employees feeling angry or concerned.
Creating the right reactive communications strategy can help you assess and then prepare for risk, so you’re not overwhelmed when things don’t go according to plan. Your internal communications team can be great contingency planning partners and help you control things like talking points for leaders so they’re ready with the right information.