Change and transition in corporate processes are hardly unusual. Ongoing changes and adjustments to the corporate strategy ensure that a company does not become mired in obsolete structures and moves with the times instead. All of these change measures, intended, for example, to embed new strategies and behaviours, are covered as a part of change management. To begin with, existing structures are monitored and scrutinized to identify potential problems. The next step is to make the necessary adjustments. Change communications goes hand in hand with change management. Employees often see change with fear and insecurity. People, after all, are creatures of habit. Change communications, as an integral part of corporate communication, has the purpose to support these changes at the communicative level. Employees should be engaged in an open dialogue to eliminate their fears.
Change communications is more about fostering an emotional rather than an intellectual grasp of intended changes. Usually, employees are well aware why specific changes in the company are necessary. This intellectual comprehension by itself does not always guarantee that the change does not provoke existential fears that initially lead to resistance. It is important that employees affected by changing processes are engaged at the emotional level and on an individual basis. That, in turn, requires open communication. A second important aspect is that, while changes in the corporate structure are of course strategically sound and carefully planned, they can nevertheless sometimes result in unforeseen events. Agility and flexibility, both in implementing the strategy and in communicating it, are a top priority.
Change communications focuses on emotions and uncertainties in particular. As such, it requires a different set of methods compared to classic internal corporate communication. What are these methods?
If your team is not informed right from the start, you risk the spread of false information, resulting in even greater fear. The best way to avoid this is to communicate openly and in detail, from the very beginning.
Each change brings its own momentum, which can transfer to employees. For this to happen, you need to understand where employees find their personal motivation in everyday work and to engage them at that level.
Communication is not necessarily verbal. It can take place in behaviour or in symbols. How about joined activities? Something that goes far beyond communication but ensures a special kind of bond?
The organisational process underlying each change is largely formed through communication. To facilitate this, it is helpful to generate as much dialogue as possible – be it in scheduled meetings or spontaneously over a shared meal.
Communication is the key for a successful change and should always keep time with the transition. If communication takes place at the same time as the change itself, the team will find it far easier to keep track of the ongoing structural transformation.
Trust is one of the essential pillars supporting corporate change. And what is the best way to create trust? With authentic, honest and transparent communication!