Need management help: What are some effective ways to communicate change? MG426

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What are some effective ways to communicate change? What tools, processes, and ethical considerations are involved when implementing a change? How does preparation for a change facilitate the implementation process? 

Dec 21st, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!

1. Be clear and honest about what’s changing and why.

Any sort of spin, sugarcoating or jargon is going to look like you’re trying to hide something. You’ll gain employees’ trust if you use simple, straightforward language, and are completely upfront about what’s changing and why. Don’t talk down to employees – this only makes them feel resentful and unvalued. Some companies make the mistake of believing their employees “can’t handle the truth,” but people respond well to respectful and honestly communication.

2. Consider the emotional impact of the change.

HR changes often strike a personal chord with employees. Suddenly the company is monkeying with their health care, and maybe that affects their sick kid. Or a company might be implementing an outcomes-based wellness program, which means they have to make lifestyle changes they don’t want to make. Take these concerns into consideration when crafting your message – and outright acknowledge them too. Sometimes people just need to feel heard.

3. Tell employees what’s in it for them.

It’s the age-old marketing credo: What’s In It For Me? You can’t deny we’re all looking out for #1, so hyping “good corporate citizenship” as a reason for change is a waste of time. Explain the benefits of the change and what employees will get from it. Yes, things will be different – acknowledge that. Yes, everyone may not like what’s changing – acknowledge that too. But there’s generally an upside, so outline that as well.

If there’s no upside, then say so. Admit that what’s happening kinda sucks and talk about what you’ll do to make the change as smooth as possible. Then thank employees for their patience, cooperation, ongoing contributions to the company and for sticking with you through the shift.

4. Explain how the change will happen.

Employees feel reassured and are more easily able to get on board when you paint a clear picture of what’s going to happen and when. If you have to use a numbered step-by-step list, do it. If your employees respond well to graphics, use them. Just make sure to set expectations by explaining the process so people can clearly see the road ahead. 

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Dec 21st, 2015

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