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Organizational change is tough, but what can be even tougher is communicating these changes to employees. Many managers fret over striking the right tone when making the initial announcement, but a multitude of other issues should be considered as well. Answering employees' questions, responding to their concerns and keeping the communication flowing in uncertain times are all key elements in announcing and implementing changes.
Draft a clear communication plan. Make a list of everything that must be communicated to employees about the organizational change. Anticipate questions employees may have about the changes and be ready to answer them. Include the points you will address in the initial announcement as well as how you will continue to communicate with employees about changes as they begin to happen. Share or create this plan with others in management positions so that you deliver consistent messages to employees throughout the change.
Explain to employees what has prompted the organizational change. Explain any specific problems the company is encountering including how and why they need to be addressed. If the company is suffering from low profits, increased costs or poor employee morale, explain this to employees.
Specify to employees how the organizational change will improve the company. Highlight how it will positively affect the company as a whole (by increasing profits or improving the company’s reputation, for example). Stress how these changes will benefit the individual employees themselves. Continue to emphasize the benefits of the plan even after the announcement.
Give employees a time frame for the change. Tell them when changes will begin and how long they will take. If you are unsure of the exact time frame, be honest and let employees know when they can expect an answer.
Share your own doubts and questions. If there is information about the change that is confidential or has not yet been resolved, tell employees that you will let them know more once you can and try to give them a time when they might expect an answer to reduce speculation.
Provide employees with the opportunity to ask questions or express doubts or difficulties they have with the changes. Invite employees to speak with you or other management regularly about any concerns they have throughout the process. Answer difficult questions as honestly as you can.
Communicate with managers and employees frequently as the changes take place. Provide any new information that arises promptly. Notify employees if the plan changes and explain why it has changed. Be as open as possible throughout the process so that employees don’t feel they are being kept in the dark.
Megan Martin has more than 10 years of experience writing for trade publications and corporate newsletters as well as literary journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.