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3 tips for communicating organisational change


1. Be sure you understand the change yourself


Effectively communicating change to employees begins with a requirement that the manager understands both the change itself, as well as the reasons that lie behind it. This means taking the time to understand a new organisational strategy or approach, and questioning how it has been devised and what it aims to achieve. Being fully informed on the logic that has driven the change means being better prepared to answer the (inevitable) questions from employees. People are more willing to accept change where it appears reasoned, so it is important to have answers to queries about why an employee’s workload or conditions are changing.


2. Don’t rely on one communication channel


Do not assume that a single email or short speech will be enough to fully satisfy the queries and concerns of employees facing change. Instead utilise a range of communication channels, and allow a multitude of opportunities for them to ask questions and voice potential problems. At the same time, it is important that this cross-channel communication serves a useful purpose, and does not inundate employees with irrelevant information that they really do not need. Messages should be presented clearly and avoid ambiguity, leaving no room for doubt about what is being conveyed.


3. Be consistent


Employees can get nervous during times of change. Being clear in the messages you convey is therefore very important to avoid any sense of being seen as holding back information. Similarly, communication of important messages should be consistent – when a message from the CEO is accompanied by fuller explanations from line managers, you would need to be sure that there isn’t a discrepancy in the basic messages from the two parties. All people involved in the change initiative must be properly prepared to convey the same message, and should understand that going ‘off-script’ on a point – even where well-intentioned – can cause more harm than good. 


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