The 4 Critical Steps for Effective Change Communication
Communication is one of the fundamental drivers of change failure or success. Getting it right the first time sets your staffing firm on a path toward achieving greater change readiness, understanding, engagement, and adoption.
There are 4 critical action steps you can take to provide clarity of purpose and direction, reduce confusion or resistance, and ensure the RIGHT message is being delivered to the RIGHT audience every time.
1. Clarify Your W.H.O., What, and Why
The first step when preparing your change messaging is getting clarity on the purpose of your change, its key objectives, and how you will measure and celebrate success...along with spotting where resistance may emerge.
Your W.H.O = Your Wishes, Your Current Habits/Behaviors, and the Obstacles or challenges you may encounter. Answering a few fundamental questions will help you craft clear, concise, and consistent change messaging across your organization.
Ask and (and be brutally honest with the) answer questions such as:
- What is the primary driver of this change? Why are we pursuing it?
- What is our desired outcome?
- What, When, and How will we measure (and celebrate) milestones and success?
- Who are our Change Champions? Who will be our greatest supporters?
- Who will be our strongest resisters?
- Where and How have we struggled with change adoption in the past? What can we learn from those past missteps?
2. Chart Your Changes
To drive employee engagement and adoption of something "new," it's important to recognize the struggles of the present so that you can begin to paint a picture for both your internal teams and external clients of what's possible. Take the time to acknowledge current struggles or obstacles so that you can begin to paint a positive picture of what can be gained once the future change is realized. By acknowledging "what is," it gives reassurance about what the future may provide and can help ease worries or resistance to what's coming.
- Capture the CURRENT Struggle or Obstacle
- Document the FUTURE Solution or Opportunity for Improvement
- Note who (entity, role, department) will benefit
3. Map Your W.I.I.F.M.s
W.I.I.F.M. = What's in it for Me. Understanding WHO will be impacted by this change initiative, as well as identifying in what ways they will experience practical solutions to their current obstacles, or positive benefits and opportunities, will further provide guidance and targeted benefit statements you can use when communicating with each impacted audience.
Make a list of who will be impacted by the changes being pursued so that you can speak to their concerns, as well as highlight the benefits they will experience. Consider including their most common concerns and questions as an FAQ that can be continually be referenced and expanded.
4. Communicate & Act
Transparent, clear, and consistent communication is one of the most important elements that drives trust, reduces misalignment, and promotes positive change collaboration, and adoption in an organization.
Take the information you’ve gathered in the prior steps and put it into action…and NOT before you can speak concisely, confidently, and with clarity about the changes being pursued.
Complete a communication checklist to plan for each communication, and ensure maximum transparency, comprehension, and impact. Include in your communication plan the:
- Purpose of the Communication. Be thoughtful and intentional with each message you are delivering.
- Communication Goal. What do you want to ensure is delivered and, most importantly, understood by the recipients?
- Communicator. Who is this communication coming from? This may impact the delivery model, method, and timing.
- Communication Impact. How will you measure communication comprehension and impact? How will feedback or questions be handled?
By incorporating communication planning into your project activities - taking these simple, but critical steps to prepare for your change communications - you can better ensure your message is delivered with clarity and confidence; thereby reducing change confusion or resistance and keeping your project on time, on budget, and purpose.
Download our handy Change Communication Planning Guide to get your staffing firm change-ready and proactively prepare for delivering effective communications for your latest change initiative.