How to Positively Communicate Changes to Your Employees

Feb 10, 2023 | Listen

How to Positively Communicate Changes to Your Employees

Change is inevitable when growing your business. Maybe your adding new products, expanding operations or even exiting your business. Whatever it is, chances are that some of your team members will have a harder time embracing them. What can you do to make this easier on them – and you? How can you positively communicate changes to your employees?

In this episode, our guest Jeffrey Edwards discusses why effective communication successfully implements change in any business, whatever its size.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 02:53 Why companies struggle with making changes and how to communicate changes to their team

  • 07:38 Preparing your team to accept changes and to communicate how it will affect them daily

  • 14:43 How to pick “change champions” who can help you communicate changes to your team

  • 16:25 When is the best time to bring change champions when you communicate changes to your organization

  • 20:48 Case study of when the change management process failed spectacularly

Why companies struggle with making changes and how to communicate changes to their team

1. The operation/business side of change

This is the actual change from the business standpoint and will require external activity and planning. Information is also needed, so everyone knows how to perform their role in this new environment.

2. The human side of change

This is when all the internal questions and pathos come in: what will change in my life when these changes occur? What will this new environment be like? Will I fit in? Will I be of value in this new space? Am I going to be at an advantage? Or is it putting me at a disadvantage? Am I smart enough? Am I old enough? Am I young enough? And more.

It is dealing with the human side that is the most significant barrier to change acceptance.

Organizations, especially those seated at the executive or leadership level, need to remember that there are people (the rest of the company) who are not quite at the same place in terms of understanding why change needs to occur. Your employees are dealing with all the questions and insecurity and must be appropriately informed.

There are two components to change in any business or organization in general. There's the operational side of the business and what's changing there. The second part, or what often gets overlooked, is the human side to it - asking how I will fit in and what's my place or value going to be?

Preparing your team to accept changes and to communicate how it will affect them daily

Tell people about it as early as possible so that they get used to, at the very least, the concept of impending change, even if what changes will be made is not exactly in its final incarnation.

This way, when the actual change day arrives, they will feel ready, informed, confident, and curious, and though even if you may not know everything, your people will at least have the information and the time to process and understand what is happening, but also why it is taking place and how it is relevant to their work.

“News travels very fast. You want to ensure that people are kept up to date with changes because their level of trust is based on how much they are always kept in the loop and what is being told to them at the right time.”Jeffrey Edwards

How to pick “change champions” who can help you communicate changes to your team

Your champions should possess the following qualities:

  • Engaged, Who shows up every day
  • Makes an effort to stay informed
  • Good communicator, both speaking and listening.
  • Listens to feedback and has their finger on the company’s pulse.
  • Emotionally intelligent and empathetic, sensing tension, bad feelings, and even nervousness within your team.
Change management is controlling the narrative and being clear on what you want people to understand. And not being afraid to share when things aren't going well or when there may be changes to that actual direction. What your people will appreciate more is your honesty and level of vulnerability.

When is the best time to bring change champions when you communicate changes to your organization

Bring them in as early as possible. Have them participate in the planning, which will give them the context of why you need to make this change and a better understanding of what is taking place, as well as what message they can share with your other employees.

If they are part of that initial development or concept, they will increase their trust and awareness and know how it will impact everyone else in the organization.

An example of when the change management process failed spectacularly

One example was when I was working with a community organization that was in the process of changing its program.

How the stakeholders gained access to information, where they used to go to get the information updates on their neighborhood, and the ongoing activities had all changed from less paper to a more electronic/digital platform. And because they did not get the information, people didn’t feel informed or know why these changes were taking place. There was also no clear contact point or person they could speak to, which led to frustration on both sides.

After making adjustments, it took a good six months just to build back some trust from the community.


Summary

  • Leaders need to understand that only some in the company are on the same level of understanding as they are as to why changes are about to take place.
  • They must be informed and kept in the loop to accept change quickly.
  • Inform your staff ahead of the actual change and maintain clarity in explaining the context and concept of these changes. This will increase their trust in you and restore their faith in the company.
  • Choose change champions from within your team. These are your engaged, informed, emotionally intelligent team members who are good speakers and listeners so you can hear the feedback and address them properly.
  • Include your champions as early as possible, even in the planning stages, so they can better communicate the advantages of these changes to the rest of your team and get their support
  • Improper planning and not fully understanding your stake and shareholders’ needs, fears, actions, and characteristics is a surefire way to botch change implementation in your company.

Transcript

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About guest – Jeffrey Edwards

Founder and Managing Director

The MakeWell Performance Group

Jeffrey is a business consultant, leadership coach, and culture change expert. For over 20 years, he has been helping small to Fortune 500 companies create inclusive teams that thrive from the inside out.

He loves to build strong relationships with clients and help them create a positive workplace culture. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Website – https://themakewellgroup.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Makewell_Coach

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MakeWell-Coaching-815991488475042/

Podcast | The Leader’s Chair – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-leaders-chair/id1529378857

Other Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing women-owned businesses with $3M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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