How to get (and keep) employees on board in times of change

Transparent communication is crucial, as is inviting employees into the discussion and allowing time to address concerns.

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Whether it’s due to a seismic structural shift, a downsizing or a cultural adjustment, change requires consistent, clear communication. People are naturally resistant to change, and workers tend to view any alteration of their routine, environment or expectations as something negative. We are creatures of habit and tend to see change as a threat.

Here are six ways communicators can mitigate fear and reassure employees during turbulent, uncertain times:

1. Plan well. Communicating with employees before, during and after a transformation or modification is crucial, but it must be strategic for it to be helpful. This requires planning.

Timing is key. When should you announce changes? Should you communicate with affected departments ahead of time, or just let everyone know at the same time? How long should you wait before making big announcements?

Of course, it’s not always possible to make these sorts of choices. News leaks and rumors might force your hand. Ideally, though, try not to make too many jarring announcements at one time. Whenever possible, spread them out over time.

Too much dramatic change at one time can be disheartening for employees and cause them to disengage. Roll out changes gradually to allow those affected to slowly get used to the new situation.

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