Organizational change can be unsettling for everyone concerned. See how improving communication can help make mergers, takeovers and other business transformation a more positive experience. And how staying connected can make a huge difference to outcomes.
Whatever the type of change – mergers, takeovers, technology change, new management or strategic direction – employees’ first thoughts will always be about how it will affect them. Because of this, they might become less engaged and lose focus on their work.
For employers, whatever the reason for the change, the priority will be keeping work disruption and costs to a minimum.
Good communication helps keep the focus on work and helps reassure people. Here are a few tips on how to stay connected when your organization is changing.
Make announcements at the right time
You can’t always tell people about change straightaway. For example, you might know that a merger is going to happen, but won’t have the details until it’s completed. There are legal requirements about when managers need to communicate certain things to employees, but otherwise, aim for a balance between knowing something is going to happen and having enough details to communicate.
Don’t ignore rumors
If there are rumors about changes and they’re false, address them. So, for example, if there are no plans to cut jobs, say so. If there are rumors and they are true, consider bringing forward any announcements or plans.
Make announcements in the right way
For major business or cultural changes, face-to-face is best. However, some people might be out of the office or working remotely when you make your announcement. Digital platforms like Workplace by Facebook can help here. Using live video or video chat can help keep everyone in the loop wherever they’re located. After your conversation, follow up with a post or email outlining the key points.
Be prepared to answer questions
This can be challenging as you won’t have all the answers. There may be hostility if people perceive the changes to be a negative thing. Explain what’s happening. And why. Consider backing this up by giving people access to more information on your company intranet or via your collaboration tools.
Stay connected throughout the changes
The initial announcement is usually just the start of a process of change. You’ll need to keep people up to date regularly. Collaboration tools like Workplace by Facebook can be ideal for this. You can quickly send updates to targeted project or working groups to outline the process of changes and keep everyone in the loop. And personalized company news feeds will help make sure that the right messages reach the right people. The system won’t bombard those unaffected by the change with irrelevant messages.
Keep your team leaders up to speed
After the announcement, they’ll be the ones that can get people back into the groove. Use your collaboration tools and face-to-face meetings to plan your approach to transformation and make certain they’re in the loop throughout.
Rebuild your teams
Change can involve redundancies. And it can unsettle people who choose to leave because cultural change or restructuring doesn’t suit them. Either way, this can affect your teams. Consider options to mark a fresh start. Going for drinks, having an away-day, or just messaging everyone to let them know how much you appreciate them for continuing to work with you through the transition.