6 reasons why organisations are still not getting change communications right
Date posted: 4 February 2021 | Posted in: Communication
In our internal communications reviews survey – developed and refined over 15 years of doing these audits – we ask people to select the topics and issues most important to them in terms of being kept informed and involved, from a list of nine options.
‘Planned changes and what they mean for me and my team’ is always in the top 3. Later on in the survey we ask them to rate their agreement with the statement ‘Changes are communicated effectively in this business.’ The percentage agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement is typically around 40% or lower. Not a great result.
Why are organisations still getting this wrong when change is now a constant? Here’s my thoughts:
- Too much focus on the big ticket transformational changes and not enough focus on effective communication of the smaller operational changes and their impact on the colleagues having to adopt or implement them.
- Impacted colleagues are not involved from the start. A recurring comment in our reviews is: ‘Involve us at the start of change, not the end’
- Lack of dedicated internal communication resources supporting change or partnering change projects – multimillion pound programs don’t realise their benefits because communications are not being professionally planned and delivered
- Trying to land too many planes at the same time. Most businesses I work with are implementing significant change. But people can only absorb so much change alongside ‘business as usual’ so the messaging on some changes fails to land
- Lack of 2-way face to face (including virtually) comms on changes. What better way to ensure successful change implementation than involve people impacted face to face throughout the change journey so they can ask questions, challenge assumptions and give feedback?
- Leaders of teams don’t deliver a regular core brief / cascade effectively where changes are a core topic for discussion. In our audit survey confirmation that a core brief is being delivered is typically only around 60%. Sometimes it’s down to the effectiveness / ease of use of the channel and sometimes it’s about leader commitment / ability.
Change communications continues to be a major part of our work here at the Internal Comms Team. If we can help with support or resource, do get in touch.