How many of us have checked our email at work to only find that you’ve received a message from upper management indicating that a change is going to take place within the organization, and you’re expected to implement that change today? What was your first thought? Was it – “Why am I just now finding out about this?” or did you say – “Do they know that this is going to make people freak-out?” If you did, you’re not alone. Over 75% of employers execute change this way. Any time a company desires to make a change in its business processes, people often get nervous about how that change will impact them professionally and personally.
Most often, employees tense up, get anxious, or worry about whether or not their jobs are in jeopardy. Or, question how much more work will be dumped on them to manage. Particularly with the already overwhelming workload, they currently have.
Did you know that often this type of anxiety can be avoided? If an employer takes the time to do this one thing, it can drastically make a positive impact during the transition. It’s called communication! Too many times, executives will make a big decision at the round table but fail to execute a communication plan outlining and communicating that road map for the people who are expected to carry out the mission.
So why is so difficult for executives to communicate information to management or staff in a way that can eliminate the heartburn? Well…I’m glad you asked! Here are a few reasons:
The fear of creating chaos!
- There is a belief that if you tell people what you’re doing, then you create anxiety…As if not telling people does any better. I call this type of management the dreamer!
When it’s potentially difficult news, no one wants to be the villain that initiates the information!
- Often people prolong the conversation and wait until the last minute to inform staff or management because they do not want to be the fall guy blamed for staff’s animosity. I call this the duck and dodge management!
Upper management does not know how to execute a proper communication plan!
- Just sending an email to management or staff right before the upcoming changes is not enough. There is a change management process that can be followed to eliminate all of these areas.
Here’s a simple communication plan that any size employer can use to communication change.
Create the map!
- Be prepared to express the vision or the critical details through email communication.
- Communicate the mission a month or more in advance. The email should include the valued outcomes as to why the change is coming and what conditions will be enhanced or improved because of it.
- The communication should include what a successful transition will look like, what staff can expect to experience, what the top midpoint goals are that the team can identify along the way.
Hire Good Drivers!
- Developing political support: assessing change agent power, identifying key stakeholders, influencing stakeholders is a must have for implementing change. Typical change agents are trainers, managers, directors or piers that have a substantial impact on their co-workers. They are trusted, knowledgeable people who can promote the shift in a supportive way, and move the people forward through the transition.
- Change agents must be prepared to facilitate change in a positive and enthusiastic way.
- Be equipped to create readiness resource tools and a support network that evaluates progress and provides support for the resistance.
- Finally, the drivers must use the map! Manage the transition and activities without derailing from it. Commitment to the structured plan is necessary to maintain the moral and support from staff. If staff are much more aware of what’s going on during a transition, they can help protect the day to day activities and diminish production from declining.