Organisational change is the only constant. If a company is to stay alive, then change is inevitable. From acquisitions, to mergers, to a new leadership team which have their own ideas about how to run the business, there is no denying that organisational change, whilst needed, can create a lot of stress among employees.
This normally happens when the new organisational changes aren’t properly communicated. These changes have a great affect on an employee’s job and failing to communicate such changes will lead to a breakdown in employee performance and morale.
Research suggests that it is not enough to let your employees know that organisational change is coming. Your employees need to understand the reason behind such changes.
Owning a narrative which explains the why of organisational change is key to eliminating employees’ resistance to change transformation which will ultimately contribute to the overall success. Hence why communication is so important. Employees will feel trusted, they can take better ownership of the situation and it will also eliminate unnecessary gossiping.
So what are the key aspects in successfully communicating organisational change?
Communicate a clear narrative
Change can be stressful and worrisome for most employees. Communicating the why, the what, the when and the how will mitigate the negatives. Research by McKinsey has found that “communication, specifically, contributes the most to a transformation’s success.” It is important to take time to come up with a clear narrative which highlights all these points. This is something you can come back to time and time again during the change process.
Make sure your employees understand why the change is happening. Then also explain what will be changing and how these changes will take place. Finally (and this is very important), communicate the when. Even though organisational change can sometimes be fluid, timelines are important, which leads us to the next point.
Change takes time and this can create some frustration with employees. It is important to keep your team updated with what is happening. Even when you don’t have the answers to all the questions it is imperative to be honest and say so. Reiterate the narrative and don’t forget to also mention what positive changes this transformation will have and what’s in it for the employees!
Involve employees as much as possible
According to the McKinsey report about organisational change “Executives report that for transformations to truly succeed, companies must think about the role that employees play as well as their people needs across the organization.” Simply speaking, your employees can be your champions when it comes to organisational change. Seek out the support and commitment of high performers and active supporters to help you communicate and better explain change transformation. Communication is two-way so don’t forget to also read through our blogpost about ways to foster psychological safety at work making sure your employees feel empowered to speak up.
The success of transformational change will lie in how well organisational change is communicated to employees. If a change project is around the corner try and also plan some time for the few tips mentioned. This way, your employees can understand why change is happening and together you can ensure a brighter future for your company.