by | Jun 2, 2022

Most major change initiatives involve multiple steps and complex context. Although we advocate giving employees all the information you can about an upcoming change, we don’t advise telling them everything, all at once. That can be an overwhelming amount of change communications that could make the initiative seem more stressful than it actually will be for your workforce.

First, the what and why

Instead, start with the big picture — in broad strokes — preferably delivered by the CEO or someone in top leadership. The leadership change communications should them the business reasons for the change, and explain the benefits the change will bring when complete. How does this change support leadership’s vision for the company’s success? How will it make employees’ lives better? And what would be the drawbacks of not initiating this change?

Prepare managers

In many cases, it’s preferable to loop managers in before the change is announced to employees. Equip them with training and toolkits to handle follow-up questions from employees. Help them be confident discussing the reasons for the change, and work to help all managers deliver consistent messaging, so employees across the organization are hearing the same thing.

Then, take it step by step

After managers and their teams understand the big picture of this change initiative, begin to focus on the first milestone. When that milestone is reached, communicate its success and being talking about the next milestone in the timeline. (Gallup has a helpful article on how to chunk change communications to help employees process major change.) Employees who will be directly impacted by any milestone will want to know more details, while those who are only on the periphery of that milestone will probably prefer brief explanations.

Give them a resource for more

If you’re not able to segment your audience by those groups most impacted by each milestone, and even if you are, we recommend giving employees somewhere to go for more in-depth information. This can be a page on your intranet or a free-standing microsite or some other channel — but it’s important that these change communciations be updated frequently with new information and progress along the way. We also recommend establishing a feedback loop for employees to share questions, concerns and issues.

Build a communications calendar

The discipline of developing a calendar for your change communications will help you break down all the messaging into bite-sized pieces, and also allow you to stand back and view the messaging holistically, to be sure you’re covering everything employees need to know, over the entire time period of the change initiative. This is one of the most effective ways to avoid overwhelming employees with too much information at once, and can help them engage with the change more easily.

Overall, the goal is to strike a balance. You want your change communications to share everything employees will want to know about an upcoming change, but not overwhelm them by asking them to digest too much information all at once.

Interested in more effective change communications for employees in your company? Tribe can help.


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