09 Feb Change Management Communications: Unlock organizational change with CrystalClear℠ communications
Change is inevitable. And yet, implementing successful, lasting change can be an uphill battle.
According to Prosci, about 70% of change initiatives fail. Most often this is tied to weak culture, lack of participation and buy-in, limited communication, not enough training or resources and the list goes on.
For changes to be successfully adopted in an organization, it is critical to prepare, equip and support individuals involved in the change.
If your company is implementing a big change this year, coupling project management with a strategic change management method that includes an effective change management communications plan can optimize your rate of adoption for lasting change long into the future.
Why do companies implement change management in their organization?
When a large company needs to implement a change within their organization, such as an improved process or a new way of working, there are two components necessary to ensure the change gets fully adopted within the organization. This includes project management, or the tactical side of change, and change management, which is often referred to as the people side of change.
Change management can have a significant impact on the adoption rate of change in the organization.
Research indicates that companies who pair major changes with change management have a higher adoption rate of change within the company than those who only utilize the project management side of change. Change management focuses on supporting people to adopt and embrace the change that a company wants to implement.
When change management and project management are used together, generally speaking, the change has a faster rate of adoption and is more long-lasting.
What is change management communications?
Change management communications encompass all the messaging needed to assist with moving change through an organization. These communications feature a combination of strategic messaging and tactical messaging—both are key to getting buy-in from employees to make long-lasting change within an organization.
Communications used in change management can range from stand-alone simple emails to a full suite of marketing communications such as posters, events, videos, newsletters and social media posts. Like in any good marketing campaign, the more frequently you get messaging in front of employees and in a variety of ways, the more you can increase awareness and adoption of new processes.
Change management communications need to incorporate messaging specific to each stage of the change to help people move from awareness to desire, knowledge, ability and finally reinforcement.
Here’s an example outlining the steps in Prosci’s popular ADKAR® model of change management. The model, developed based on the theory that organizational change can only happen when individuals change, helps to address challenges and identify strategies to successfully make organizational change happen.
- A – Awareness: of the need for change
- D – Desire: to participate and support the change
- K – Knowledge: on how to change
- A – Ability: to implement desired skills and behaviors
- R – Reinforcement: to sustain change
Combining change management and effective change management communications creates the perfect blend for long-lasting change in your organization.
Who handles change management communications?
Many companies will hire a project manager for the technical side of change and a change manager, who may be trained in a change model such as ADKAR or Prosci®, to handle the people side of change.
Oftentimes, the project and change managers will work together to develop communications to help shepherd the change throughout the organization. However, some companies have recognized that a good change or project manager doesn’t have the bandwidth or skillset necessary to handle intricate messaging for creating effective change. Therefore, they may hire an outside communications resource to work with a change manager to craft communications and tactics that help instill buy-in and effectively implement the change.
How do change management communications work?
To give illustrate how change management communications work, here’s an example of a Fortune 100 company we worked with on change management communications.
The organization hired a change manager and a project manager but knew that the communications required for this effort would be challenging. In turn, they searched for a communications company that had experience working with and in large consumer packaged goods companies and who could deliver a strategic change communications plan with a variety of communications.
Writing by Design was then hired to work alongside the organization’s change manager to not only be the tactical side of the change management process, but to also recommend strategic communications at key stages of the project. This helped to reinforce the “why” behind the change, aiding in higher adoption rates throughout the organization.
To enhance the rate of adopting the change and to provide creative solutions to get in front of their employees, we produced a variety of communications from standard emails and intranet messages to posters, training videos and even a 60-foot billboard on a demising wall that was being used for construction in a busy walkway to engage employees in yet another way.
Use a variety of communication methods for organizational change
Effective communications can ease the overall process of change and help promote alignment and cooperation to ensure everyone involved is on the same page. Without clear communications, a multitude of obstacles may prevent change from taking effect, such as:
- A perception of negative changes such as job loss where people are comfortable with the current situation and believe change will lead to difficulties
- Ignorance about the current state of the company while not being eyes wide open to the current realities of the business
- Bad experiences from failed or attempted previous changes
Sharing changes through detailed, authentic messaging can build trust leading to acceptance and adoption of the change.
There are two reasons it is necessary to ensure your change management communications are more than just emails.
- Inbox fatigue is a real thing—especially in larger organizations. An April 2021 Forbes report noted that employees under 40, revealed that half said the number of emails and slack messages they receive is likely to push them to quit their jobs. Even prior to increased remote working due to the pandemic, inbox fatigue was alive and well. Relying on emailing employees important updates relating to change isn’t enough.
- People have different learning styles. Some individuals do a better job absorbing material that’s read—these visual learners make up about 65% of the population. About 30% of the population retain more if they hear information through live presentations or videos, known as auditory learners.
If your change management campaign is 100% reliant on emails and social media posts, you will likely miss out on communicating to 30% of your organization who will retain messages better if they are presented differently.
Develop CrystalClear℠ communications for effective change
Remember that project management and change management alone may not be enough to implement effective change in your organization.
Be focused on developing crystal clear messaging and understand that a variety of communication methods are necessary to implement change.
Is change in your organization’s future? Support your employees through an upcoming change with effective communications that will increase the rate of adoption and instill long-lasting change for your business. Need help developing crystal clear communications? Let us know. We can help!
Emily Feagles has more than eleven years of experience in product manufacturing and not-for-profit industries leading marketing and communications initiatives. Her expertise includes communications strategy, public relations, brand management, printed publications, email marketing, website and social media management, event planning and promotion, product marketing and research, process development, writing, editing and more. When she’s not working, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, chasing their wanderlust and dreaming of ways to transform their home.