6 best practices in change management communication

Internal messaging is vital when your organization undergoes structural shifts, tries a new business model or steers into uncharted markets. Try these approaches.

Change communication tips

To keep pace with a rapidly evolving business landscape—and the competition—your organization must stay agile.

That can mean frequent change, which poses an ongoing challenge for internal communicators. Seven in 10 change programs fail, research tells us, and that failure often is attributed to poor communication.

A new article published in Public Relations Journal, based on in-depth interviews with dozens of internal communication executives, looks at both specific and general elements of change management.

Based on those findings, here are six recommended best practices:

  • Internal communicators should work with senior leaders to develop information guides and talking points to help mid-level and direct supervisors explain the reasons for the change, how the change is consistent with the organization’s values, and how employees will be affected.
  • Mid-level managers and direct supervisors should be available and should afford employees opportunities to share their concerns and any problems they encounter during implementation of the changes.
  • During times of change, internal communicators should help develop opportunities and encourage leaders to engage in open exchanges such as town halls, site visits and skip-level meetings.
  • Internal communicators should share employee stories that demonstrate support for the change and how the change aligns with the organization’s identity and values.
  • Public relations should be represented on the decision-making team when change management plans are being developed, as well as assisting with communication strategies and tactics.
  • Public relations, human resources and marketing team members should collaborate when developing and implementing change management communication initiatives.

Marlene Neill is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University. A version of this post first appeared on Institute for Public Relations blog.

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