Communicating change is a crucial function of internal communication.
Employee interest in company news peaks during times of change. That’s when we can provide clear, accurate information about whatever change is afoot, and thereby reduce stress.
Here are five key questions to ask as you’re framing your messaging:
1. Have leaders established an organizational vision? If so, and if employees are aware of it, your job will be much easier. That vision can help anchor employees in times of change and reassure them that the change is part of a larger strategic plan.
2. Does this change relate to that vision? Anytime you’re communicating change to employees, it helps tremendously to link those two elements. That helps employees understand that it’s not a knee-jerk or reactive change, but one that supports an overarching mission.
3. What’s the business benefit? Again, it’s reassuring to employees to connect the change to a positive outcome for the organization. You want them to say: “Oh, that makes sense. I see why that change is necessary.”
4. What’s the bad news for employees? Have a clear understanding of how the change will affect various segments of your workforce, and address it head on. Don’t sugarcoat it nor spin it nor put off communicating the news. National research indicates that employees want to know as soon as possible—especially if it’s bad news.
5. What will be good news for employees? Beyond the positive aspects for the overall business, look for outcomes that will benefit employees directly. If nothing else, you can link a healthier company to a more secure employment environment down the road. Communicating the nuts and bolts of the change is important, but we must also link it to human outcomes.