- Identify the what and why of the change. Spell out the change in specific terms. How will employees’ daily routine be affected? What will they have to do differently? Explain the reasoning behind the change thoroughly. People will accept change more readily if they understand why it’s necessary—even if they don’t like it.
- Target specific results. The change is intended to produce specific concrete results. Your communication efforts should do so as well. Do you want to retain a certain
percentage of employees after a merger? Hold productivity at the same level after a cutback? Clear goals will make your communication strategy easier to plan.
- Don’t dump information on people. Too much communication is rarely a bad thing, but it can be unproductive if you don’t put some thought into the quality of the information you expect people to process. Take some time to think about what you’re telling people and whether you’re doing it in the most effective way.
- Welcome questions and feedback. Your workforce will feel more secure during the upheaval if they have lots of opportunities to ask questions and voice their opinions.
Do your best to take their sentiments into account as you make decisions; when you can’t, explain the situation so people don’t think you’re asking for feedback only to ignore it.
BOTTOMLINE: When welcoming feedback, rely on a mixture of group presentations and one-on-one meetings. Gathering feedback one-on-one shows respect for the individual, allowing for interaction and feedback with less intimidation. Interaction moves people from compliance to enrollment, and from enrollment to commitment. (See Step II-D, Engage the Team, from Six Disciplines for Excellence.)