According to the article “6 Communication Tips to Keep Employees Engaged During Change” by contributor Tris Brown on www.td.org, employees are often resistant to change and can struggle to stay engaged during those times. However, when change is properly communicated, it can be exciting instead of uneasy. As such, Brown offers six tips on how to communicate with employees during times of change:
- Be open and honest about the reasons for change. If you want employees to stay engaged, don’t try to protect them from what’s happening. You can make sure they understand why there is a need for change by being direct and upfront with them. This approach will also keep the rumor mill from turning.
- Start from the top. Significant change involves the leadership’s commitment, involvement and modeling. Employees should hear about any changes directly from leaders first. Ideally, the initial announcement should be made to all employees in person via the CEO, and then two-way discussions can be held between employees and their other supervisors.
- Explain how the changes will affect employees. Employees want to know how changes will affect them personally — will they have role changes, new bosses and so forth? Since many employees will be concerned about the future, understand that there will be an emotional component to their reactions. Take the time to tell them the specific benefits they will receive during the change as well as any bad news. It is also critical to thank employees for their cooperation, patience and loyalty.
- Provide a step-by-step plan. Tell employees what exactly is going to happen and when. The more they know to expect, the more at ease they will be. However, don’t just tell them what you know — also tell them what you do not yet know and when you expect to receive further information.
- Provide employees detailed instructions. Once employees understand the overall plan, they will want to know where they specifically fit into the scheme of things. If some employees will be more necessary for change than others, you can target more customized messages to the various audiences.
- Give employees time to digest. This is the most crucial step to keeping employees engaged. Give them opportunities for two-way communication where employees can ask questions and get real, specific answers. Face-to-face meetings are best in these instances, although anonymous surveys can help too.
Read the original article here.