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Communicating Change

Communicating Change – Make it Happen!

The world has been changing since the beginning of times; and with the rise of technological trends and the dynamic environment surrounding us, changes are happening faster than ever.

Although some changes could be driven by an innovative and continuous improvement mindset, we mostly find ourselves facing challenging situations where we need to communicate and implement changes that are a NEED but not really a WANT!

When dealing with change, we usually emphasize on different factors, and start asking ourselves these common questions:

Communicating Change

Which products or services should we work on?

What are the obstacles and challenges that we might face?

What are the required resources?

What is a suitable plan to execute this change?

While these points are essential in the change process, the most vital factor in implementing change successfully is PEOPLE.
In reality, studies and researchers have identified the following facts:

  • More than 70% of initiatives in organizations usually fail due to not communicating change openly and in a structured way.
  • 60% of companies do not have a long-term strategy for their internal communications.
  • 74% of employees have the feeling they are missing out on company news.
  • Only 23% of executives say that their companies are excellent at aligning employees’ goals with corporate purposes.

These facts shed the light on the gaps between organizations and their workforce, in addition to the lack of awareness and alignment between company strategy and employees’ objectives.

Which brings us to the importance of Communicating Change effectively, in order to support a seamless and successful implementation.

Communicating Changes with employees

Let us agree that force is the weakest strategy to use, knowing that humans are in nature resistant to change, especially when it is imposed upon them.

Think of a time when you were a kid and your mother asked you to do something. Your first reaction presented itself with a question: “Why do I have to do it?”, the answer was typically conventional: “Because I said so”.

Were you convinced?

Did you do it?

How did you feel?

The best way to get people on board and help them embrace change, is using a communication strategy that follows this simple approach:


  1. WHO 

85% of people will not adopt a new behavior unless they see an opinion leader doing so.

Know your audience and choose the right person to deliver the message;  people are more likely to embrace change when the message comes from someone they trust.

  1. WHY

As a business owner, entrepreneur or even a team leader you should identify the purpose of the communication. These questions can help:

Am I  building awareness?
Am I looking for acceptance?
Am I seeking input?
Am I asking for behavioral change?

  1. WHEN

Consider that your company is  changing the Performance Appraisal process, and you are the Human Resources manager and need to communicate this change: Who should know first?

In this case, your team – the HR personnel – should be the first people to know, because they are the change drivers. Even if you still have little details, communicate a short positively framed message, and promise to get back with more details.

  1. HOW

There are several communication tools and channels that can help in conveying our messages like Email, Text message, Phone call, Video call, and Face to face meeting.

But Which one to use?

Your communication needs to be tailored to the needs and preferences of the audience; let us continue with the same example as above (HR manager and PA process), which tool should you choose to use and when?

  • Announcing the change – through E-mail
  • Communicating the details – in a face to face staff meeting
  • Assigning objectives, roles, and responsibilities – in a face to face individual meeting
  • Following up on the implementation – through E-mail supported by Phone calls when needed
  1. WHAT

 This part is about taking into consideration the employees’ perspectives, it addresses their  concerns, priorities and opinions, and answers questions that they might have such as:

What is exactly changing?
Why are we making the change?
How will this affect me?
How will I know if I am doing the right thing?
What kind of support can I count on?

Make sure that your team see the positive side of the change and visualize success even before it is attained.

Communicating Changes with employees in organization

Adopting a clear and targeted communication strategy will ensure a smooth transition from the status quo to any destination of your choice.
Keep in mind that resistance to change is part of the change process and cannot be totally eliminated but reduced and monitored.

The right thing to do is to understand your people, know what keeps them up at night, and take a walk in their shoes from time to time.

And always remember,

“Communicating change is a campaign, not a one-shot deal”.

Gaby Nemer
Skill Builder