How to Positively Communicate Changes to Your Employees
From: "Help! My Business is Growing" Podcast
Change is inevitable when growing your business.
However, 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?
In this episode, our guest Jeffrey Edwards discusses why effective communication successfully implements change in any business, whatever its size.
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.
In this week's episode, we discuss:
02:53 Why do companies struggle with change, and how to communicate that change to their employees/teams?
07:38 How would you prepare your team to accept organizational change and to make them understand how it will affect them daily?
14:43 Do you have any advice on how to pick change champions?
16:25 When do you bring the champions into this conversation?
20:48 What about an example of when the change management process failed spectacularly?
Listen to the podcast here:
Why do companies struggle with change, and how to communicate that change to their employees/teams?
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.
How would you prepare your team to accept organizational change and to make them understand 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
Do you have any advice on how to pick these champions?
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.
When do you bring the champions into this conversation? At what point in the whole change process do they come in?
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.
What about 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.
We go in-depth with this topic and more over at the podcast. Listen here:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. 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.
About Jeffrey Edwards
Founder and Managing Director
The MakeWell Performance Group
Jeffrey Edwards is a business consultant, leadership coach, and culture change expert. For over 20 years, Jeff 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
by Kathy Svetina
Kathy is a Fractional CFO and the founder and director of NewCastle Finance LLC. She is a financial puzzle solver, focusing on women-owned businesses, and providing financial insights needed for a healthy and sustainable business.