No communications plan = low morale and productivity
Organizational change of any kind can evoke a variety of emotions from employees that can negatively impact company morale and productivity. Employees can become anxious, worried, and stressed. They want to know what the changes are. Why are the changes being made? How will the changes affect them, and will the changes affect their job status? The key to minimizing the impact associated with these emotions is making sure you have an effective communications plan.
An effective communications plan meets the needs of the entire organization and all of its stakeholders. In addition to planning what information you will communicate to satisfy the needs and expectations of each of your stakeholders, the plan should include 3 other components:
- How you will communicate. There are different stakeholders and different communication channels available. You will need to analyze the needs of each of the stakeholders and determine how you will communicate with them. For example, will it be face to face, e-mail, town hall meeting, print, or intranet? What is their preferred channel? By ensuring you have planned how you will communicate you will be able to reach your stakeholder to get the information to them.
- How often you will communicate. Your plan will need to lay out how often you will communicate with stakeholders. For those directly involved with the change, the communications frequency will be greater than that of the stakeholder that just needs to be apprised of the change status. The plan delivers information with the right frequency that ensures your stakeholders get what they need, while not risking any under-communication or information receipt fatigue.
- How you will receive input and feedback. This component of the plan outlines how you will interact with your stakeholders to receive their feedback and input on the changes. There are a variety of tools and techniques that can be used – interviews, surveys, e-mail contact, a dedicated “hot-line” resource, or group forum. The goal is to have a pulse on how your stakeholders are feeling, how they are responding to the changes, and what steps you need to take to course-correct your communications.
Organizational change can evoke many emotions from your employees – anxiety, worry, stress, and these emotions can negatively impact an organization’s productivity and morale. The development and implementation of a solid communications plan helps you minimize the effect of these emotions and helps your organization maintain productivity and overall morale. How do your plan to communicate during change management activities?