How to Communicate Change Effectively

The competitiveness and the rapid growth currently being experienced in the global business landscape have allowed changes in the structures of many businesses. Successful companies must anticipate change and try to adapt to it in order to thrive. But the changes that can happen to an organization may be difficult to manage.

This is most especially true when the employees are not properly informed and don’t have a clear understanding of what is going on or how it will generally affect them. This will also bring about stress and fear at the workplace. Employees may begin to develop negative thoughts and become afraid of the consequences that change may bring. Feelings of insecurity and uncertainty will surely be prevalent among the organization’s workforce which can undermine their performance.

It is important for the management to ensure that proper guidance and information dissemination will be provided to employees as the organization undergoes through any changes. To better help employees cope up through any transition, managers need to take a more active role in managing and communicating change to employees. Here are some ways on how to do it.

Be honest and up front with employees

Make sure that employees learn about any changes in the organization from leaders themselves and not through office gossip and small talk. Talking to employees about what is happening to the organization and being honest about it will help reduce employee resistance. Prompt action will help a lot in dispelling any rumors and unfounded speculations which can make communicating change much more difficult.

Remember that employees are more likely to perceive change as a threat under these circumstances rather than as a means of improvement. After all, resisting change is just a natural reaction as it’s in the nature of humans to avoid the unknown as much as possible and try to maintain familiar patterns.

Make use of key communicators in the organization

The CEO alone may not be able to provide enough details to satisfy all employee questions at all levels of the company. A better approach would be getting front-line supervisors address the employees and answer their questions and concerns. Making employees better informed about the situation of change will help them better understand and accept even potentially upsetting news.

Develop an effective message

Try to create specific and distinct messages to fit each audience. Communicating the reasons for the change is a good idea, but employees may want it communicated to them in a way that they can understand. Making only a general communication for everyone in the organization may not have the same effect on everybody. B

ear in mind that the perceptions of the employees about the company may not be similar to that of the executives. They want to know about things that managers may find unimportant, such as how changes may affect their personal work area. Whoever communicates change to employees needs to understand their concerns and from their standpoint.

Listen

Having a good ear can help transitions in the organization go more smoothly. Getting employee feedback is very important in trying to manage change. A great way of gauging reaction and monitor the progress of change is by getting the comments of employees. They can be encouraged to provide feedback through a number of means such as e-mail or the company intranet. Doing so will let employees feel that their opinions and comments matter,making them a very important part of the organization.

Effective communication is a vital cog to successful change management. Talking to employees should be an ongoing process. It should not be a one-time event since concerns about change and the things that are happening all around the organization may warranty day-to-day monitoring. Organizational change should not be a cause of employee resentment everytime.

Good managers know that communicating effectively with the people in the trenches will help foster better understanding between the management and the workforce. Better communication will help lead a company to a smooth transition whenever change may be necessary. The earlier a company as a whole embraces change as a means of surviving and becoming more competitive in the business arena, the better its chances of getting way ahead of the pack.

 
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