Managing and communicating change, a key task for the internal communications team

Introducing change across organisations is often a challenge, especially when one has to break through set patterns and behaviours. And when change has to be managed through communications, in order to swim through circumstances that have to be tackled differently, one often is faced with unexpected results. 

Infact there have been studies depicting that 50% of all change initiatives often fail. The other half are a combination of mixed results and successes. So, the failure rate to manage change communication is still a huge half. 

In current times, when all we knew about a work environment or for that matter even how the planet exists got completely muddled, communicating change across the organisations has become an even bigger a daunting task. In its entirety, any change communication today needs two key parameters – motivated and engaged employees and the ability to adapt to change. Change can’t be effective if either of the aspects go missing. 

The current environment calls for communication to directly flow from the Leadership teams. Yes, the top-down approach, but at the same time ensuring its far more personalised, timely and relevant in every interaction. Ensure, the leadership team is equipped to answer any concerning queries from employees; because their response is what will add to the success of any internal communication.

Presently, every employee would want to know – what’s in it for them and why should they accommodate with the change – that the organisation is proposing. Its imperative to be prepared for these and lots more, because as long as the two-way communication lines are open, employee confidence will only get better. 

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending. But so far, we have no clue when these tough times would end. Hence, the approach should be to communicate the organisations vision and focus for the next year. Sharing the vision will help employees understand where everyone is moving to and be far more tuned into the how’s and when’s. Don’t forget to equip and empower the employees as well, especially during the current times, because their faith is what will build the organisations strength to achieve any plans. 

The task for internal communication team would also be to ensure as much transparency as possible when sharing information and at the same time maintaining active listening practices. Such initiatives, help employees understand the need for “change” and in a way support the whole communication process better. 

Jim Stengel in his book – Grow – shares “The Ideal Tree” elements, that any organisation should ensure to emulate when building brands. For me, it explains a simple yet wonderful practice that Internal Communication teams can utilise for enhanced engaged with employees. Whether it’s a new campaign or the need to motivate employees (and keep their anxiety at bay), try and play with these basics – Discover, Build, Communicate, Deliver, Evaluate. When planning the internal campaign or any engagement with employees or the organisation at large, think how the elements can be broken down to these basics, it might also help on deciding the best communication tool for that matter. 

Communicate with clarity and empathy, sharing the benefits of the change. Then any campaign will showcase better outcome. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, AVP, Communications & Public Policy.

Bringing up a 7 year-old boy and building a career in Communications have possibly been the key driving forces in my life! Obviously, apart from the 6am runs and eternal love for black coffee. The reality of 2020 hit this industry with the worst storm, but gave me a silver lining through awards & recognition in the 40Under40 category for PR and Corporate communication professionals (three of them in one year!). My goal is to keep - Communications - as the big picture, whilst being the wanderlust traveller who is reading all the time!

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