Engaging teams; communicating change.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t like change. Ask a roomful of employees “who wants to change?” and, by and large, most will say no ... unless they know why.
Change is often vital to business growth but it only ever works with the support (or, at the very least, collaboration) of those most affected. Effective communication – of the rationale, goals and benefits – will help employees and other stakeholders understand the change and move towards acceptance and, ultimately, advocacy of the new normal.
For ANY communications programme to be successful, it must have the full understanding and support of the senior management team. Senior executives must be champions of both the programme and the communications channels used.
Embedding is mission critical. Audiences must be engaged before they listen; understand before they learn; see relevance before they accept. The successful communications programme will have relevance to the audience; importance to the audience and impact. It should, where possible, be two-way: a dialogue, not a monologue.
It may be apocryphal, but the JFK/NASA cleaner tale is a great advert for the value of engaged, enthusiastic employees. During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, President JF Kennedy noticed a cleaner carrying a brush. He walked over to the man and said “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?” The cleaner replied: “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.” Internal communications, particularly at a time of change, is all about creating the understanding and environment that allows every employee, from the cleaner to the President, to share a common goal.
When the biggest division of the parent of one of the world’s leading airports embarked on an effectiveness and efficiency change programme to ready it for massive growth, it needed a communications specialist to make sure the reasons and the benefits were clearly communicated. Switch fitted the bill perfectly.
Knowing that the best communications programmes are based on detailed knowledge and understanding, we undertook a comprehensive qualitative research programme amongst staff and other stakeholders. The rich insight gained informed the creation of the internal communications strategy designed to deliver understanding, acceptance and, ultimately, advocacy of what has become ‘business as usual’.
We were engaged to communicate the projects and created key messages to be delivered both digitally, in print and as display panels. These support staff briefing presentations delivered into the teams through a number of training sessions.
The briefings are currently being rolled out the business. Stage two, including the full ongoing communications programme delivery, tracking and measurement, is currently being planned for implementation throughout the year.
Insight. Strategy. Engagement.
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