Over the past year, Writing by Design has been providing communications assistance for a two-year change management initiative being rolled out at a Fortune 100 company. While change management is a popular way to shepherd change into an organization, companies need to be sure that they not only have good change management leaders and consultants, but that they also have exceptional change management communications, too.
Meeting change in the workplace head on
Change management has become an essential corporate practice since the mid-2000s. Businesses large and small understand that no transformation can be successful without a well-prepared workforce that understands and supports the change taking place. In order to achieve this buy-in, companies often look to change management specialists to help facilitate the transformation.
Whether adapting to a significant change in leadership or the introduction of new technologies into the workplace, the change management process can involve a range of touchpoints between employees and change leaders, including town hall meetings, training sessions, email campaigns, social events and more.
So how does communication fit into all of this?
The role communication plays in the change management process cannot be overstated. For example, let’s take a look at the steps in Prosci’s popular ADKAR® model of change management:
- Awareness of the need for change
- Desire to participate and support the change
- Knowledge on how to change
- Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
- Reinforcement to sustain the change
Every step along the way depends on skilled communication between change leaders and the people affected by the change. This includes clear informational or tactical communications (i.e. when this change is happening; what you need to do) as well as strategic communications that tap into the “why” behind the change, helping employees buy into and assist with the transformation. Both types of communication work together to create transparency, honesty and, ultimately, a smooth transition.
One way companies fall down in managing change is by not mobilizing effective communicators during the transformation. While change management consultants are experts in the process by which people buy into and make the most out of workplace developments, they may not have the skillset needed to create the clear, compelling and consistent communications that successful change hinges on. Asking a change management consultant to handle communications, in addition to the strategizing and project management required for a seamless transformation, can lead to a series of communications that contains mixed messaging, is off schedule or simply does not work as hard as it should to support the change happening in the workplace.
Keeping comms creative to drive engagement
In working with our client on their change management initiative, we’ve provided a wide range of creative ideas to deliver messaging, from emails and website updates to video articles to posters (yes, even bathroom posters!) and printed orientation material. We even suggested a 60-foot, interactive mural complete with a flat-screen TV monitor in a hallway to deliver some important messaging! Creative delivery methods can assist in delivering ordinary messages in an engaging way while helping employees avoid “inbox fatigue” from reading too many emails.
Always clear, concise and consumer-friendly, our communications have helped prepare our client’s workforce to make the most of their transition, which has gone remarkably well so far. And, our strategic marketing background has helped us tie all of our communications back to the higher-level objective of the project. At the end of the day, it takes skilled writers to turn mundane communications into inspiring messages that drive buy-in and help a business reach its goals.
Is your business on the brink of a big change management project? Click here to request information on Crystal Clear™ change management communications pricing and support.
Peter Tolly is a Crystal Clear™ Communications Manager at Writing by Design and a graduate of Northwestern University, where he studied English and linguistics. He was elected into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and earned the Shuman Award for Creative Writing and the Faricy Award for Poetry in first place. While completing his studies summa cum laude, he gained experience as a valued member of Market Fresh Books, an independently owned used bookstore, and worked as an intern at Northwestern University Press in the sales and marketing and acquisitions departments. Having many interests, Peter studied German, French, and Latin, worked as a public observing guide at Northwestern’s Dearborn Observatory, and was involved in theatre while at Northwestern. He is an Eagle Scout and enjoys time out-of-doors.