Using Communications to Navigate Change

Hey, bud­dy – spare some change? If your busi­ness is like most, there’s plen­ty of change to go around – and it’s impact­ing your col­leagues, clients and customers.

Change has been proven to have a sig­nif­i­cant effect on employ­ees’ men­tal well-being, and it can man­i­fest itself phys­i­cal­ly, as well. Accord­ing to a study from the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion, in fact, work­ers expe­ri­enc­ing cur­rent or recent change are more than twice as like­ly to report chron­ic work stress.

But a strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions effort can help. In my lat­est arti­cle for Business2Community, co-authored with Bell­mont Part­ners’ Sara Gras­mon, we talk about how com­mu­ni­ca­tions can help a com­pa­ny – and its var­i­ous stake­hold­ers – nav­i­gate the often tricky waters of change. Essen­tial­ly, it comes down to five steps:

Assess and Plan. Be trans­par­ent, and give your team as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble. Then devel­op a plan to move forward.

Lis­ten. Pro­vide a way for employ­ees – and if it makes sense, oth­er stake­hold­ers like clients or cus­tomers – to become part of the process. Make sure they authen­ti­cal­ly feel like their voic­es are being heard.

Com­mu­ni­cate. Make sure the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are open, and keep every­body updat­ed on what’s happening.

Embrace it. Instead of fear­ing what comes next, look at change as fuel. As client John Sweeney of the Brave New Work­shop says, “Peo­ple in the mind­set of dis­cov­ery don’t seem to be as jarred or set back or even sur­prised by change,” and instead look at it as an opportunity.

Mea­sure. Gath­er base­line met­rics, and keep an eye on how things are pro­gress­ing, lis­ten­ing close­ly to employ­ees and cus­tomers along the way through mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tions channels.

If your orga­ni­za­tion isn’t in the mid­dle of change now, it will be soon. An authen­tic, plan­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tions approach can help guide you through it. For more details, check out the full arti­cle here.

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