Have a game plan.
If there will be shakeups within a team — people joining or leaving, shifting of responsibilities, etc. — formulate a plan outlining what will change and who will be impacted prior to communicating the changes with the team. It’s important for leaders to truly understand the current responsibilities of each team, interactions between teams and individuals, and current processes, as well as how they will change.
Change is much easier to swallow when there is a clear-cut plan for future actions and it is communicated by a leader who is confident and knowledgeable.
Communicate with transparency.
Control the narrative. If leadership is not being forthright with employees about impending changes and their impact on certain groups and individuals, they are effectively leaving the rumor mill at the helm. Instead, leaders should take advantage of the opportunity to transparently guide their employees through change, building trust along the way.
Establish the leadership team as the single source of truth by getting ahead of the game. Town hall meetings, team meetings and one-on-ones for leaders with their direct reports are great ways for leaders to get in front of their teams.
Questions should be encouraged and answered as openly and honestly as possible. Consider an anonymous or confidential way for employees to submit questions or feedback — for instance, an email box or employee survey. Address each question that comes in, and if a question cannot be answered, explain why. If the leader doesn’t know the answer, they should commit to finding it and reporting back to the asker.
No matter what, do not lie. Lying destroys credibility and creates an atmosphere of distrust that can thwart the best efforts in a reorg.
Create reference content.
It’s helpful for leaders and employees alike to have reference documents at their disposal. For leaders, create talking points that they can use when holding team meetings, FAQ documents with stock answers to some questions that may be asked of them, etc.
For employees, consider recording town hall meetings that they can reference later, follow-up emails with notes from meetings, updated organizational charts and employee-facing FAQs. It would be helpful to post this information on your company intranet for easy access.
Reorgs take time, and it’s important for leaders to touch base regularly with employees. Successful change communications cannot be a one-and-done type of initiative. It involves proactively reaching out more often than feels necessary, even reiterating information that has already been shared.
Provide updates on the strides that have been made, successes and next steps. Utilize various communication vehicles such as email, team meetings and video to creatively disseminate information and maintain employee engagement.
Reorganizations open the door for opportunities. If carefully thought out, you can instill a sense of calm in the chaos.