This cannot be achieved through just one communication vehicle. Rather than relying solely on email (or another single medium), consider building a more comprehensive, robust communications plan that includes the following:
To build the trust and confidence of employees, it’s important to put a face (and voice) to the change initiative. Knowing that a strong leader is on board and helping to pave the way can reduce employee fear of what’s to come. Organizing in-person all-hands meetings, with the option of conferencing in for other offices or remote employees, helps to personalize the effort. As the leader, use the forum to fully explain the organizational change and how it will benefit the group, leaving time for employees to ask any questions they have.
It’s also important to provide a forum for people to ask questions and provide feedback. The town hall format that is used for presidential debates can work well for this — virtual or in-person, the floor is open for employees to bring up the topics that are top of mind. Many leaders share that this can be an effective way to keep a pulse on the company.
While email should not be used as the be-all and end-all of a communications strategy, it does have its place. Once an announcement has been made, it’s a good practice to have a summary email prepared to send out to employees. The summary should hit on the main points discussed in the town hall meeting. It can also contain supporting documentation, including FAQs, updated process documents and help resources.
Individual Team Meetings
To complement the larger organizational meetings and email summaries, leaders should hold face-to-face meetings with their individual teams. Here is where leaders can go into deeper dives about what the change means for their specific teams. Employees who may not have felt comfortable asking questions in a larger town hall meeting may feel more at ease doing so in a smaller team setting.
With all change, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open after the initial announcement. As progress is made on initiatives, consider putting together quick one- or two-minute videos in which you speak to the successes made thus far and key areas of focus in the short term. Email the videos to teams, and/or host them on the company’s intranet page.
Leader videos and follow-up emails can contain calls to action for employees to complete surveys. Surveys can be hugely helpful in keeping a pulse on employees’ attitudes toward the change and any challenges or concerns that have come up. Employees have a different perspective than leaders, so including their feedback to continue certain initiatives and course correct others can lead to greater success. In future communications, leaders can speak to how they’ve addressed survey feedback, which can go a long way toward maintaining employee support and engagement.
It’s wise to utilize a mix of communication mediums at your disposal when communicating organizational change. To discuss your communication initiatives, send us a note - we’d love to help!