Leadership at organizations undergoing significant change spends a lot of time talking about the process and explaining it to employees. Communications to employees can take many forms - from town hall meetings to company newsletters.
These activities - what I call “active communication" - are very important. Employees are often confused and concerned by change. Leadership should take every opportunity to explain how the change will impact the company and employees’ day-to-day jobs. However, “passive communication" is just as important - and, in certain cases, can be more valuable.
By passive communication, I mean ensuring that the organization’s leadership (everyone from the CEO to front-line supervisors) demonstrates to employees that they are committed to the change process. One way to achieve this is to ensure that employees see them engaged in change-related activities. This can include:
* Being Seen Learning About the Change: Visible, active participation in change-related seminars, sessions and other activities is vitally important. Employees need to understand that leadership throughout the organization is embracing the process.
* Be Seen Implementing the Change: Employees need to understand that leadership is going to be accountable and rewarded for the success of change-related projects.
* Be Seen “Talking Up" the Change: Widespread communication about change-related processes and procedures is important. However, employees may discount these announcements or view them as company propaganda. The conversations employees have with their front-line supervisors about the change often have the most influence on whether employees view it as credible. After communicating with their supervisors, employees should understand how the change will improve their work processes, eliminate bureaucracy and improve their efficiency.
Change management can be a lengthy and difficult process. However, if employees see leadership taking an active role in the change process, the task can be easier.
(c) 2005 Fard Johnmar
Fard Johnmar is founder of Envision Solutions, L. L. C. , a full-service healthcare marketing communications consulting firm. Envision Solutions provides innovative products and services to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Envision Solutions’ goal is to make our clients more efficient and successful. For more information about Envision Solutions please visit our Web site