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Yes, we can change: Keep communicating about change

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula that tells you how to communicate optimally during your change process, but our change consultants do follow a set of basic principles and tools when supporting your project. The following three tips will help you set up your communication plan.

In our last blog post, we mentioned that successful change management hinges on a clear action plan. That’s why we don’t just stick to one, but three plans: a Communication, Learning and Sponsorship plan. This blog post will take a closer look at the Communication plan and give you three tips to communicate about your changes efficiently.

1. Define your stakeholders

During our communication workshop, we’ll divide your employees into segments representing several stakeholder groups. This segmentation is based on their perspective on the change process and the ways in which they could influence it:

  • Attitude: What’s your stakeholders’ attitude regarding the project? Are they pro or con? Do they have an active or passive interest in it?
  • Influence: Do your stakeholders have a lot of, some or no influence on your project’s success? Are they important to the project or not?  

These two metrics give you an idea of how you could inform your stakeholder groups. Obviously, employees who will effectively use the new tools are a crucial group, but look at the bigger picture as well. Think of management, for example: this group is smaller, but certainly no less important! And what about trade unions? They’re not impacted directly, but they’ll notice some influence nonetheless.

2. Use the right communication tool at the right moment

After you’ve clearly defined your target groups and the information they should receive, it’s time to determine the communication tools you’ll use - and when you’ll use them. When announcing your project, you might use other tools than those you’ll use during the project or follow-up:

  • Before launch: Put your new campaign in the spotlights by launching an animated teaser or showing live images on your displays in the hallway or entrance, for example. This announces your project and immediately leaves an impression as well. Have you considered sending out a fun teaser mailing?  Mailings are still one of the most powerful tools to spread your message because they’re personal, direct and efficient. 
     
  • During launch: Keep your employees informed during your project launch. Have you considered using banners or Quick Reference Cards? A Quick Reference Card is a useful guideline that visually presents the most important advantages of your new software.

  • After launch: How do you ensure that your employees use the newly implemented tools? By continuously stimulating them to do so, even during the post-launch phase.  Triggers such as weekly fun facts on post cards will grab their attention. A mini website or Intranet page is a useful tool that can be used as a central hub to share all relevant project information with your employees. Why is this change needed? What’s the current situation? What happens next? 

Make sure to change things up by using different communication tools. Communication isn’t a one-way street. An inspiring O365 Lunch & Learn session, for example, gives your employees an opportunity to talk about the changes.

3. And finally: repeat, repeat, repeat

Always keep communicating. Let your communication actors repeat the most important messages several times during the change process – four, five, or even more times if necessary. When you announce operational changes for the first time, people will only wonder how this change will impact their own work routine. They won’t pay attention to details and practical guidelines just yet.

By communicating sufficiently, you’ll offer your staff a mental guideline to process the changes, keep them informed and answer the questions that will arise during the project.

Are you considering change within your organisation and would you like to find out what Xylos could do for you? 

Be sure to check out our offer. Want to know more about change management? Check out our Yes, we can change blog posts: What is change management?, How to handle resistance against change, and Change management - Which steps do you take?.

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