by | Feb 6, 2020

Communicating change can be scary. In Tribe’s research with employees of large employers, 84% said that communicating change was handled poorly in their companies. Many HR and communications teams seem to approach major change management initiatives with trepidation. They worry that employees will react to change with lower engagement, greater anxiety and higher turnover.

But what if we frame change as something exciting? Major changes, from a new acquisition to a pivot in business strategy, can produce opportunities for employees to further their careers. Change shakes things up, produces vacuums that employees can fill and reveals needs for innovations that employees can create.

How can employees drive the change? Rather than communicating change as something that’s happening to employees, challenge them with being the ones to make it happen — and then celebrate the individuals and teams making significant contributions at each milestone.

Try creating excitement about the future the change will create. Companies don’t embark on major change initiatives just to make everyone’s lives difficult. We go through the pain of change to get to something great on the other side. That may be a leadership position in a new market, or the ability to serve clients globally, or the transformation of the company from one that’s struggling to one that’s thriving. Make sure your change communications include the benefits of the destination, not just the logistics of the journey.

One CEO we worked with described it as going to the beach. Getting there is not the fun part — loading up the car, driving for hours, unloading all the coolers and beach chairs and umbrellas and everyone’s luggage. That stuff is hard. But when you finally get there, well, then you’re at the beach. Once you’re dipping your toes in the surf, you’re glad you made the trip.   

Interested in helping your employees engage in change? Tribe can help. Concerned about putting your employees through too much change? Try this article on How to Fight Change Fatigue with Better Internal Communications. Or for more on communicating change successfully to your specific employee audience, you might want to Ask These Questions.


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