It is said that the only constant is change and when it comes to today’s workplace, that’s an understatement! Whether it’s a new process; a new building; a new brand; or new technology, something always seems to be changing. Even bringing one or more new customers can be exciting and stressful at the same time.
As leaders, you can help your team members embrace change and make successful transitions by communicating consistently, immediately and often. The more frequently you communicate and the more transparent you are with information, the more comfortable people will feel about the change.
Here are three specific questions to answer in those communications:
1. WHY? – What’s the rationale behind the change? Let your team members know what’s driving the change. What outcomes are you hoping for? How will the company benefit and, more importantly, how will they benefit from the change?
2. WHAT? – Give as much information as you can give as soon as you can give it. When people know there is a change coming, but they don’t get the details, they have a tendency to make stuff up. You can curb the rumor mill by sharing information with your team as soon as you have it. Be sure to ask your team members what information they need to have to prepare for what’s coming. Don’t know the answers to their questions? Be honest, and then find out. Don’t have any updates? Make the update about the fact that you don’t have any updates. Keep communicating and you’ll lessen the anxiety of your team members AND you’ll create a more positive experience.
3. HOW? What steps will you take to make this change? One of our clients at Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc. put it this way recently: As a leader, you must look at the whole picture. What is it going to take to effectively make this change? How long do you have to make it? How many people do you have to help you? What can they do to help? Then get everyone in a room and dole out the pieces. By breaking it down and sharing both information and the work load, you’ll have a much more effective and successful transition.
While you’re at it, here are a few other items to consider:
- How can you involve your team? What choices can you give them so they feel a little ownership in the process?
- What channels will you use to deliver your information? Refrain from relying on only one. Have Town Hall Meetings and Departmental Meetings. Follow that up with Minutes of the Meeting in an Email. Then post something in the employee break room.
- How can you have fun with your communications? For instance, create a visual wall chart to show how close you are to finalization and achievement of the goal!
- What consistent message will leadership share with team members? Create talking points for managers so team members don’t get confused with mixed messages.
Change in the workplace (or anywhere) is unavoidable – however, consistent and constant communication can create more excitement and less anxiety!
What are your tips for communicating change?
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc – a team of customer service experts who develop and deliver training to help you turn prospects into customers and customers into raving fans! She is the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers and “The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service.” She can be reached at 800-519-0434 or via email at Donna@RedCarpetLearning.com