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Communication in change processes

Tools of change communication


When introducing ITSM, intensive communication with the employees should take place. They should
notice that their opinion is wanted and taken into account, both in mediated communication using the
intranet or other media such as discussion forums as well as in direct face-to-face communication with
supervisors, colleagues or promoters. Companies can use different communication arenas when
introducing ITSM:

Individual communication: The introduction of ITSM can be explained in personal
conversations between supervisors and managers, particularly if tasks change due to ITSM or
new tasks are added, such as updating service catalogues. Beyond purely conveying
information, this can build trust and credibility for the ITSM philosophy. The effort made by the
supervisor to provide information and communicate and his or her willingness to be available for
conversations and questions has a lasting effect on the success of all employee communication
measures.
Communication in teams/work groups: Team meetings and workplace discussions can be
used as forum for discussing the introduction of ITSM. The manager of the ITSM project or
others in charge of the project or IT organisation can be specifically invited to meetings to talk
directly to employees and work teams about ITSM. Another option could be special events
devoted to the subject of ITSM.
Communicating in large groups: Large groups allow many employees to be addressed at the
same time. Usually, management will report on the ITSM project and give employees the
opportunity to provide feedback. In particular, large-group communication can integrate different
interest in the company and present the project's vision as well as its values and standards. They
do not focus on concrete tasks of employees with regard to ITSM.

The introduction of ITSM must be communicated widely in the company. To do so, a wide variety of
communication media are available, which should be selected carefully so as to take full advantage of
their particular features when conveying messages. Precisely in change processes, the media mix
should focus on two-way communication. One-sided pieces of information have to be directed towards
employees in order to update them about the project. However, it is only conversations between the
employees and their managers, the project team or management that can create lasting acceptance
and effect change. Managers, in particular, should be prepared for this in a targeted manner and make
themselves available to meet the need for discussion. The following illustration shows an example of
the range of available, established and special communication media in the company.

Figure 1 - Communication media in the company

Communicating the change process
All affected employees should be provided with information about the ITSM project. The important
thing is to then create a uniform status of information in the company and acceptance for ITSM. Not all
employees can be heard and incorporated directly when developing the ITSM project. Therefore, the
objective of employee information is to not only spread necessary knowledge about ITSM, but also to
foster good long-term relationships in the company with an information policy that is based on trust.
The challenge of internal information consists in demonstrating the concrete benefits of ITSM for the
employees and speaking the right language for the target group.

In many cases, the opportunity is missed to make it clear to employees that ITSM is a new philosophy
in dealing with IT. Of central importance in this phase is to win over the hearts of employees and
spread a shared spirit, rather than handing out glossy brochures with technical details. Onl y then will
they participate actively in the dialogue and use ITSM to manage their tasks. In the information phase,
the media mix used has to be defined exactly. However, it is also necessary to clarify the following
points:
Information objectives: What concrete information objectives for the introduction of ITSM are to
be reached? For example, are there emotional objectives in addition to the objective ones? What
changes do the employees want for themselves, such as a higher level of knowledge or a
positive attitude towards ITSM?
Target groups: What target groups within the company are the information measures intended
to reach in the first place? What topical interest do the target groups have with regard to ITSM?
Are there company stakeholders that have to be informed?
Statements and core messages: What benefits does ITSM offer the target groups? What
central statements about the ITSM introduction can be derived from that? Which core messages
should be spread in the first place, and which messages are to be avoided? What is the tone of
the statements? Is the tenor of the address factual or emotional? Which perspective is chosen: is
it that of the ITSM users or that of upper management or IT managers?
Media mix: Which internal media are to be used to provide information to the employees?
Monitoring success: What is the best way to measure and monitor the success and
effectiveness of the information measures?
The employees can be addressed using informational brochures and flyers that tell them everything
they need to know in a clearly arranged and attractive manner. The address should ensure that the
employees feel that their emotions are being taken into account. Technical details and sprawling
descriptions are to be avoided. More important is to name and thank the employees involved in
development and design. In particular, the informal change agents the promoters play a central role
here in creating acceptance and motivation. Printed and e-mail newsletters can also be a vehicle for
reaching a large number of employees in a short time. Here, too, the focus should be on a marketing-
type approach, presenting the benefits the individual employee has from using ITSM. Only if the
employees see a clear benefit will they use ITSM. Conscious use should also be made of providing
information in purpose in face-to-face situations to reach employees on the personal relationship level.

The following are requirements for successful employee information concept.

Credibility and trust: The target groups addressed have to trust the communication department
and have respect for their expertise in the subject. Credibility determines whether the employees
will listen to a message at all.
Context: Successful employee information has to fit into the context of all measures. It should
reinforce the message, not contradict it.
Content: The message about ITSM has to include benefit and meaning for the target group. It
must be compatible with the value system of the employees and the company.
Clarity: The messages have to be simple and clearly formulated. The chosen words should
mean the same thing to the recipient that they do to the sender. Specifically, complex technical
details have to broken down into simple statements. The more widely a message will be spread,
the clearer and more understandable it has to be. All project participants and upper management
have to speak with a single voice, as otherwise employees will become confused and the
measures will be ineffective.
Continuity: To attain a desired result among the employees, multiple points of information
contact are required. Accordingly, messages should be repeated, but it is important to ensure
that the statements remain the same.
Information channels: Existing channels should be used to spread the message first, such as
the employee magazine, newsletter or bulletin board, as employees are already familiar with
them. In addition, an intranet can be used as a powerful information medium in the company.

In practice, the following tips for communication have proven useful:
Less is more: Messages, subjects and amount of text should be kept to a minimum and target
groups have to be selected carefully.
The core messages have to be defined, focal points determined and an intensive effort should be
made to distribute this information throughout the company.
Specific, targeted address or groups of persons and internal stakeholders: Internal interest
groups, formal and informal opinion leaders and key communicators have to be identified.
Cross-media information: Multiple media have to be used in order to spread messages
effectively. In-person measures must be used in a targeted manner to maintain relationships.
A positive image of ITSM must be conveyed. Avoid giving the impression that ITSM is "difficult,"
"complicated" or "removed from reality." Rather, ITSM should be portrayed, for example, as
"future-oriented," "lively" and "exciting."