The Importance of Change Management
Change at the enterprise level can impact employees across countries, offices, divisions, and levels. In other words, change impacts a lot of people. It also impacts your business’s success as the highest level.
Just look at the numbers:
- Employees suffering from change-related stress perform 5% worse than the average employee.
- 70% of organizational attempts to drive change fail.
- Companies with good change management practices are 3.5x more likely to outperform their peer organizations.
- Companies with a change management approach have 2.5x greater financial returns.
The importance of communication in change management cannot be overstated. Communicate the change proactively, clearly, and consistently. You’ll ensure every employee across your organization understands what’s happening. Once employees understand, they can accept. Once they accept, they can adopt.
We’ve outlined five ways to communicate your change below.
We’ve also drafted a full guide to global change management. Download it here.
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Pick a Key Sponsor
Your company’s leaders guide your change process forward and keep employees invested.
Similarly, your leaders have an opportunity to set the tone during change. Pick a leader to drive communications globally and act as the figurehead and go-to person for questions. This leader is, ideally, also your internal culture champion.
Set Your Messaging
Consistency is key in communicating your change. All employees, from entry-level to managers to senior leadership, should similarly understand the basics of what’s changing.
Be intentional. Gather your senior leaders together and draft the Who, What, Why, How, When. Ensure leadership uses this messaging within their respective divisions.
Pro Tip: Also give your messaging draft to managers. It will help them align their team communications to leadership’s.
Lean Into Why
Communicating why a change takes place is often overlooked. But employees are much more likely to get behind the change if they understand its reasoning.
Explaining ‘why’ ties the change to your future business mission direction. It demonstrates that the change was made thoughtfully and with regard to the internal and external forces that drive organizational success.
Communicate the change across various channels and mediums. In doing so, you’ll ensure all employees get the message.
Some ways to share your messaging:
- Company-wide town halls
- Leadership roadshows
- Team meetings
- 1:1 meetings
- Email distribution lists
- Slack and other chat functions
- Your company’s intranet system
Allow for Dialogue
Communication shouldn’t be a one-way street. Even at the enterprise level, you can start a conversation with employees on the change in three ways:
- Answer questions.
Give ample time for FAQs in all in-person communications, like town halls and team meetings. Ideally, allow employees to submit questions online and anonymously, then share the answer widely. Acknowledge when answers are not yet known and provide a commitment to revisit and provide responses when they are available.
- Ask for feedback.
To get started, turn to these three core feedback methods regularly — and consider using a tool like CultureIQ to help.
- Culture and Engagement Surveys — These ask about evergreen topics like leadership, your mission, and support systems. You’ll learn how employees’ feelings about your culture shift as the change is implemented.
- Pulse Surveys — These regular surveys pose the same quick question to employees. You’ll track sentiment on a particular topic over time.
- Focus Groups — These voluntary focus groups can provide more qualitative or anecdotal feedback on your change.
- Talk frankly about managing stress.
Change is stressful. Acknowledge that feeling stressed is ok and provide tactics employees can use to cope with the change. Ideally, you’re also providing safe spaces for employees to discuss how they feel — either with their manager, team leader, or HR.
The importance communication of change management is widespread. If you apply these five communication methods, you’ll ensure that your organizational change is set up for success.
If you’d like more tips on managing organizational change, download our free eGuide.