Communicating Change: Do Your People Actually Care?

Change projects fail due to communication breakdownsChange is unavoidable

Change is a part of life and in business, companies need to be able to embrace it and view it as an opportunity for growth. Multiple studies have shown that over 70% of transformation projects fail, 57%* of these are due to a break down in communications. There is no way to completely eliminate discomfort during times of change, however the right methods of communication and management strategy can make the difference between success and failure. Without effective communication, the workforce can become uncertain and you’ll experience heightened resistance to change.

“It is not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change” – Charles Darwin.

While companies are gradually becoming accustomed to being in the midst of constant change, they often lack the knowledge and skills they need to survive in such an environment.  Being able to deliver effective communication, at all stages of the transformation project is a key factor of success in achieving business transformation. However communication is not only needed at just all stages, it is needed at all levels too and requires transparency. A Towers Watson study** found that while 69% of senior managers say they understand why organisation change is happening, the percentage decreases down the levels. On the middle managerial level, 53% understand the key messages and purposes of change, and only 40% of front-line supervisors understand the change.  Therefore if management does not understand why the change is happening, how can it be communicated consistently and clearly to employees?

Communication is one of the toughest issues in organization and simply you cannot over communicate when you are asking people to change.

Examples of common communication failures

  • Communication professionals and leadership have a hard time delivering though messages
  • Messages are not delivered at the right time
  • Messages are not delivered in the right format or through the right mediums, so employees miss them entirely
  • Messages are inconsistent
  • Communications are not delivered by the right people.

Communication is a two-way conversation it is not just simply “passing on information,” the key messages, as well as the timing, method, format and whom sends them should all be considered.

Choosing the right method of communication plays a vital role in effective transformation. You may think you are “involving people’ in change by sending out an email to everyone telling them whats happening- that simply doesn’t work. People need to feel involved, engaged and aware of change and what it personally means for them. This also means effectively communicating bad news, if necessary, rather than not communicating at all, as employees will often fill in the gaps of lack of communication and assume their own conclusions.

The traditional corporate communication methods have also moved on. Peoples’ expectations have changed and attention spans are low. In a world where every email and advert is tailored to you, why should work be any different? And how do businesses and employers ensure their communications rise above the daily noise? You need to make the complex simple. People are inherently visual and tools like video, interactive infographics and and bold graphics are much more likely to grab attention now.

Visual communication success

Visuals are a more effective form of communication than written messages, as they can be an engaging way of delivering messages clearly, draw employees into the subject and help to simplify complex messages.  People become switched off if they are bombarded with huge amounts of information. By delivering visuals clearly and succinctly alongside further sources of information to enable the employee to ask further questions and delve deeper into the subject. Videos and animations can also have the same benefits and can also provide a fast and accessible way for time pushed employees to access information.. Employing visuals, videos and animations also help to inject energy and fun into corporate communications and can help to transform what could be considered “dry content”.

G2G3 combine subject matter expertise and bold, visual communications to bring transformation programs to life. We are passionate about making the complex simple and ensuring the right message is communicated, at the right time to the right audience through the right channels.

 *IT Cortex- Project Failure Statistics  **Towers and Waston- Change Management and Communication 

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