How To Communicate Organizational Changes
Breaking a bad habit or developing a fresh one is tricky, especially when trying to make a significant change. Organizational change is a lot like that. Mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring change the way a company works. Administrative processes, especially, need to be adjusted.
It should be no surprise that many organizational change efforts fail. After all, you’re not only trying to evolve your approaches and habits, but you’re also trying to convince others to change their own, making it challenging to execute organizational initiatives.
To resolve this, managers must develop the competencies needed to lead their teams through periods of transformation.
A study by Gartner shows that only 34 percent of all change initiatives pursued by businesses succeed. Sixteen percent yield mixed results, equating to 50 percent of all change initiatives failing.
Organizational Change Management
Organizational change management can be challenging to implement. Therefore, consider the skills required to communicate across departments successfully. Effective communication plays a vital role in making organizational change possible.
To change, you have to address two important things: First, do your employees have the motivation to change? Second, are your employees able to change?
Both of these are incredibly important. One without the other might lead to failure. To successfully change your organization, you need to increase your employees’ motivation and ensure they can quickly adapt to the new environment.
Steps To Managing Organizational Change
1. Share a Vision
For a smooth change, you must share a vision of how the organization can benefit from the transition. People need to know that transformation is suitable for both them and the company overall.
Crafting your vision is about answering the following questions:
- What will your organization look like after the change?
- What will your employees experience as a result of making the necessary transitions?
- What will be the tangible outcome?
- Will there be rewards, both for your organization and your customers?
- How will it look?
Asking these questions will help employees understand why organizational change is necessary. A mutual understanding of the motivation behind organizational change is critical to success.
If everyone can reach a mutual understanding of corporate change motivations, the team can work toward a shared vision.
The world is experiencing some challenging new challenges now, and many businesses have to cope with them.
One example is COVID-19, or the coronavirus, which has caused businesses worldwide to undertake rapid, remote-work change initiatives, requiring companies to embrace technological change and work remotely with employees.
Companies that have successfully adapted have been transparent, honest, and straightforward in their efforts while communicating a vision for employees to rally around.
2. Tell a Story
Help your employees see where the company is, where it wants to be, and how to get there by the company sharing its vision of the future regularly. A story about the future will help employees see where the company is, where it wants to be, and how to get there.
Let’s return to the example of COVID-19. To communicate that change is necessary, you might position the story as an epic tale. Social distancing is an immediate risk to your industry.
It will be challenging, but you must rise to meet the challenge as an organization. You have a plan.
Managing organizational change in this manner can alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty your employees may feel, whether in production or sales.
3. Inspire and Enable “Heroes” in Your Company
Your team needs to be empowered to be change agents. Does your communication strategy focus on what they will need to change? Or does it focus on how important they are and how much they can do?
To make your employees feel like they are part of the organization’s change, you need to make them feel like the heroes of it.
They need to feel like the change will help them personally and not just for the company and that they will not be victimized by it.
Think again about the viral disease scenario. You’ve shared your vision for change and how you expect to reach your objectives.
By making your personnel the heroes of the change story and explaining each person’s specific roles, you can empower them to help the organization meet its goals.
4. Set The Tone
To equip those in your organization to become leaders in your change communication, you must first lead them to a shared vision.
Once you reach an idea your employees believe is suitable for the company. It’s your role to show them the path that will get them there.
When companies are faced with threats like the coronavirus, employees understand the company must do whatever is necessary to survive.
They know they have a part to play, and they can see the path forward. But this doesn’t mean that, for many staff members, it’s an entirely new way of working. They’re up against challenges.
When making a change, make it clear to your employees that there are resources available to help them transition.
If they feel overwhelmed or paralyzed into inaction, they will never adopt the change.
Managing organizational change isn’t just a one-time conversation. Communicate repeatedly throughout the change process.
Restate your vision, retell your story, enable your employees to act as heroes, and chart a new path when struggles arise. Your organization will be more driven and equipped to change with you.
Change is hard, but it is possible. People make fundamental changes in their lives every day. Companies shift gears and become more successful by communicating their vision effectively.
Your communication strategy can help you shift gears and achieve a lasting impact.
Enrolling in an online management course is a great way to improve your organizational change management capabilities.
If you want to handle any transitional challenge that comes your way, an online management course can prepare you for any situation.
About the Author
Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!
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