Announcing New Procedures
How you announce changes to your business’s policies or procedures can help or hurt your company in a number of ways you might not foresee. Failing to announce them correctly can result in internal confusion, a decrease in morale, lost business, safety problems and legal issues. Sharing them with your workers correctly will help you avoid these problems so you can quickly begin taking advantage of the benefits these changes are meant to provide.
Before you announce any changes to your policies or procedures, finalize them to avoid possible confusion. If you are almost finished and decided to go ahead and announce your changes -- then find out from your attorney, marketing department or other manager that you can’t make all of your desired changes -- you will have to amend your announcement, including recalling any printed materials you distributed. If the amended changes are not communicated properly, you risk creating conflicts in the workplace, and your employees might wind up making commitments to clients that you can’t honor.
Create a written announcement to distribute to your employees, even if you intend to announce it verbally at a staff meeting. This will help guide you in making your announcement as you list and see all of the elements of it in one place. Answer the who, where, when, what, why and how questions your workers might ask. Solicit feedback on your announcement from a select group of managers and staff members before you make it to the general work force. Include management and lower-level staff members to get a cross-section of feedback, asking them to agree to confidentiality until you make the announcement to the full workplace.
Make your announcement using a staff meeting, department meetings headed by department heads, an email announcement and/or a written memo. Explain to your employees the who, what, where, when, why and how of the changes, rather than just telling them that you are making changes. Distribute any new operating policy or procedural guides, such as an employee handbook or manual, if the changes involve formalized policies in such guidebooks.
After you have announced the changes and explained why you are making them, ask for feedback from your employees so that you can address any questions or concerns they might have. In addition to seeking feedback during your announcement meeting, ask employees to provide feedback during the next few days or weeks as they work under the new procedures and develop more questions.
Just because you announce new procedures doesn’t mean everyone received the notifications and understands them. Ask employee to provide verification that they have received the new procedures, have read them and understand them. Ask them to respond by email or by returning a signed document that includes their name, signature and date.