As organizations embark on transformational journeys, effective communication plays a pivotal role in determining the success of the change initiative. Missteps in communicating the change can lead to resistance and negativity from employees, leaving them feeling undervalued and uncertain about the future. In this blog, we explore the most common pitfalls in communicating organizational change and provide actionable strategies to avoid them.
When change is communicated solely from a management perspective, employees may feel disconnected from the process. Focusing on management drivers rather than the key impacts and significance for employees can lead to a lack of buy-in and understanding. To overcome this pitfall, communication efforts should be employee-centric, addressing how the change aligns with individual roles and highlighting the benefits that employees will experience.
Communicating change with rose-tinted glasses, solely emphasizing the desired result and ambition, can dismiss the genuine concerns and uncertainties of employees. Acknowledging the challenges and complexities of the change process is essential for building trust and maintaining transparency. Engaging a communications specialist can assist in crafting messages that address the process, milestones, and the support available to employees during the transformation.
Using vague and generic objectives, such as flexibility, customer service, or agility, can leave employees questioning the tangible impact of the change. Making the change concrete involves linking it to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. By clearly defining desired behaviors, identifying performance indicators for measurement, and outlining new ways of working, employees can understand their roles in achieving the change objectives.
Positioning change as a complete departure from the past can create uncertainty among employees, who may question how they fit into the new culture and organization. To mitigate this, communication should emphasize the evolution and continuity of the organization’s core values and strengths. By highlighting how existing skills and expertise will be valued in the future, employees can feel more secure and invested in the transformation.
Presenting change as a separate entity with its own communication vehicles can overwhelm employees and lead to information overload. Instead, integrating change messaging into existing communication channels and organizational updates can create a cohesive and well-informed workforce. By positioning the change as part of the bigger picture and the organization’s strategic direction, employees can better grasp its significance and relevance.