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Change management and employee communication strategies

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Change management and employee communication strategies 11 Jun 2009 Marcia Xenitelis If our emplo ee communication strateg to communicate change focuses on stakeholder communication plans, an intranet site, CEO forums and Staff Information Bulletins via email stop right there. Your efforts are focused on information, not communication and the likelihood of engaging emplo ees in change is remote.

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My interest in employee communication is to distinguish between the tools communicators use that inform and those strategies that engage employees and therefore impact business outcomes. The concern is that there seems to be confusion in the market place where roles are advertised for "Change Managers" when the organization is really looking for an internal communication professional, not a change practitioner. So what's the difference? Well clearly both information and engagement tools are important. An internal communication professional focuses on tools to impart information and in some cases create dialogue. This can embrace things like the corporate intranet, staff information bulletins, emails, providing information for managers to brief their teams face to face, organising staff forums for the CEO and briefing kits for supervisors and team leaders. Whilst all of this activity is important and provides the support that employees need to find out what is happening. But - and it is an important distinction - so what if you tell people what is happening. Will it change their attitude and therefore change their behaviour? In my experience which is across many sectors, industries, professional roles and all types of change programs I have to say no. And this is the problem, when a CEO and senior executive team think "change" will happen because they have hired someone to communicate the changes taking place and then when there is no impact on the business or the outcomes they were looking for they are disappointed. Think of it this way. Smokers buy a packet of cigarettes, the health warnings are featured on the packet and yet we see intelligent, literate people continue to smoke, packet after packet. The only time they truly become engaged in changing their attitude toward smoking and therefore behaviour is when they are in the doctors office and are personally facing a health risk. And then Aha! they finally get it. So how do we use this analogy when we are tying to communicate change? Let's look at this example. An organization wants to communicate the financial results to employees and the usual approach is to post the employee annual report on the intranet. But this time they need to do something different, they want employees to understand why the company needs to improve and what shareholders base their decisions on. So they decided to run free lunchtime information sessions for their employees on how to invest in the share market and held them for one hour each week for four weeks. The topics progressed from understanding the share market, categories of companies listed etc till the final week they examined annual reports. In this final session they were reviewing annual reports and came to the last one for the session and after reading through the data the question was asked of employees, so who would invest in this company, few put their hands up. And you guessed it, the company was their company and with a collective Aha! the employees finally got the message. As in this instance, a large transformation program including HR, training and operational initiatives was developed to build on this. So here is the important message for any change program. Information is important, employees need to know what is happening, when, why, who, what and by whom. However, equally as important when it comes to organizational change, employees need to be involved in the process to be truly engaged. This is where change professionals need to focus on the Aha! moments and engage their employees in the process of change. Share this:

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Change management and employee communication strategies


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Ma cia, E celen a icle - pa ic la l i h he e ample o ed ega ding moking and he ill a ion of he "leng h " one compan en o o b ild a a ene a o nd he need fo change in he compan . I ha al o been m e pe ience ha o gani a ion end o foc on ool and ac ic and no on gaining a holi ic nde anding of ha i ake o enable a change o occ . Rob Ca , PA - USA G ea piece...Con e i e en ial o nde and an info ma ion. O he i e, info ma ion ha no in in ic meaning. Tie hi a ho ' me age i h Jame Ke ' (ano he " ho gh leade " fea ed on hi i e) Vi ion S o a icle and o ma ha e ome hing o b ild pon. Bob J.

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he a ho Ma cia Xeni eli e pe ience in he field of emplo ee comm nica ion pan 20 ea . An in e na ional p blic peake on he bjec , he man al he ha i en ha e been p cha ed o ld ide b Fo ne 500 companie , ni e i ie and o e a ho and companie in he na i e A alia. [mo e] RELATED ITEMS LATEST COMMENTS O he ef l a icle Change managemen : i ' he people, pid A le on in change managemen Implemen ing ainable change Michael Ja e on he ec e of cce f l change Engaging change: i ip fo i ing and h i ing Unde and change o make change Manage d o ning in change People op change happening Top a egie fo emb acing change No hing change if no hing change Ge ing o he hea of o gani a ional change Some ime he onl a o g o i o change O he a icle b Ma cia Xeni eli A e o engaging o j info ming? Emplo ee engagemen in o gh ime Wh manage a en' he be comm nica o d ing ime of change Fi e a leade can comm nica e change Mea ing emplo ee comm nica ion A icle o ' e been alking abo

Telling i n' aining Wh o ho ld ake a MBA Silence - he oo ca e of p ojec fail e Gen Y and he 2020 o gani a ion Wh a he i dom of Pe e D cke igno ed? Managemen hinking i no all abo p oblem A da in hei hoe No econd chance A da in hei hoe I emo e acce pa of o oolki ? I emo e acce pa of o oolki ? Can o eall be a "Global" leade ? O Reg la Tho gh Leade Dan Bobin ki Wo kplace E cellence Bill Fi che Looking Ea Ed a d de Bono La e al Thinking And Han elman Se ice, Plea e Jane Ho d Be e p e en a ion! Ma McKeo n Un h ink!

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