Strategies for communicating about changePeople can be very opposed to change for a variety of reasons, some personal and some professional. One of the main reasons why people oppose and fear change is that it can pose, or be seen to pose, threats. At the individual level change can involve:
fear of loss of status or comfort
fear of the unknown
loss of known ways of behaving or working
loss of confidence in ability
loss of comfortable routines and procedures
the struggle to build new relationships and ways of getting on with people.
When the change is properly explained and communicated, then many of these fears and anxieties can be overcome. Clear, effective communication, therefore, can be the vital key to addressing the behavioural and attitudinal problems associated with change. The role of training professionals in this context is to facilitate clear, effective communication about the change process.
The communication strategy used and degree of participation allowable in shaping the desired change will vary, depending on the level of the change.
Communication at the organizational level.
Communication at the departmental/team level.
Communication at the individual level.
Training professionals are usually the ones called on to help facilitate communication processes at each of these levels of change. The information below is offered as an outline to the various tasks which may be involved in facilitating constructive discussion at each of the three levels.
|LEVEL OF CHANGE||TRAINING/FACILITATION ACTIVITY REQUIRED|
|Organizational Level|| Discussions with top management
to gather relevant information about the change.|
Clarification of the issues involved.
Planning what needs to be communicated.
Preparing and designing materials/media to be used for the communication.
Agreeing and 'signing off' materials/media with top management.
Gathering information about progress and problems, and communicating these back up to top management.
|Departmental/Team Level|| Working closely with departmental
and team heads to clarify the change and identify its possible implications.
Facilitating workshops to discuss and plan ways of implementing the change
required. Managing the dissemination and sharing of information between
teams and departments, about how the change is progressing. Publicising
'success' stories to motivate and ensure recognition for those who are
working with the change.|
|Individual Level|| Working with individual
managers to formulate positive messages for communicating the change on
to their people. Gathering and responding to individual queries and concerns
about the change. Working with individual managers to identify development
needs associated with the change, and plan how to address these.|