Effective Communication during Change
During change, it is important to consider the phrase; communication, communication, communication. Communication about change needs to be clear, continual, and consistent.
You communication goal is to create awareness of change and help people to understand why change is necessary.
What is Communication?
Communication is considered to be verbal and non-verbal, and also involves active listening. It helps to keep a simple definition in your mind of what communication is, as it will help you to remember the purpose and goal of your interactions.
Creating a Communication Plan around change
Creating a communication plan is key when identifying what, when, why and how communication is conducted with your Employees during change. A communication plan is a productive tool for Employers as it is evidence that you value the importance of clear, continual, and consistent communication. Simply telling Employees about change and expecting them to then get on with it is a one-way communication method which is often perceived negatively and presents as a contributor to Employees resisting change.
Changes should not be spontaneous and ‘off the cuff’. They should be well thought out, planned appropriately, and communicated effective. Where possible, changes should involve a consultation process, and provide an opportunity for those affected to provide their feedback. In fact, feedback is an essential part of ensuring your communication is successful.
If you are concerned about negative feedback, consider managing that rather than avoiding feedback altogether. Consider being responsive to this feedback as this will make or break the communication plan. Failing to do these basic steps will result in those affected constantly wondering, ‘what’s next?’ When Employees notice you are not prepared they will lose confidence in you.
Awareness of your feelings and managing your responses are two areas of emotional intelligence that are essential to communication, and effective change management.
Active listening is also a very useful habit to remember when communicating and managing change. One of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" which captures the value of listening in the importance of effective communication.
Please contact us if you need any advice regarding communication with Staff around any aspect of their employment environment.