The Role of Communication in Change Management

We cannot overstate the importance of change management sponsors in effectively managing change in organizations. They are responsible for generating support, seeking the help of other leaders, and motivating participants in the change process. Communication is the tool that sponsors should use to provide a context for change and engage employees. It helps sponsors explain the vision of change to generate the necessary acceptance.

Sponsors who adopt effective communication practices can better articulate the why, what and what of the change, increasing the chances that employees will understand and activate the behaviors needed to achieve success. Change initiatives often fail because sponsors and leaders don't maintain their commitment to the change management process. Employees realize that leaders don't commit and believe that it's not important that they pay attention to the change or adopt it. As a result, they are more reluctant to join. Most importantly, change management sponsors must listen to and learn from the opinions of employees.

Are there signs of resistance to change in the organization that require more coherent and exhaustive communication to overcome them? Do employees not understand how to implement a particular aspect of the change and need better training? Listening to employees is just the first step. Taking action based on inputs and ideas promotes trust and creates a greater willingness among employees to adopt change. The sponsor of change management alone cannot lead an organization through change. Other sponsors, staff managers, project managers and change professionals play critical support roles. Successful change requires the participation of all of these internal leaders to drive momentum, credibility and trust.

Organizations can prepare for change by helping leaders understand their role and equipping the company with a change management methodology. Having a communication strategy for change management is essential for a successful change management initiative. Inefficient change projects that aren't driven by the right technology or that are carried out without management support simply won't generate the return on investment (ROI) needed to justify them. The communication plan should be an integral part of the change plan, addressing the questions of how, what, when and why of change from the perspective of people. If you're ready to start your change management process, use this checklist to determine if you have the best-practice approach to communication and change management. Even if the change itself can't be negotiated, your employees may have valuable information about what the change will mean for the company's daily operations.

In fact, Google says that companies with well-thought-out change management programs receive nearly 30% more ROI than those with poor or unestablished programs. Active and visible sponsorship tops the list of key contributors to the success of change initiatives, according to Prosci, a world leader in change management. Change management is used in business to describe strategic planning, processes, and tools used to help achieve organizational change and help employees understand and adapt. Without the participation and motivation of key stakeholders, it is impossible to expect success from any change program. Prosci has studied these collaborators in all 11 editions of its report on best practices in change management, and sponsorship ranked first in each one. Whenever you have a new project, system, process, initiative or policy that could affect the daily operations of your company, you can safely say that you need a change management process.

Madeline Credille
Madeline Credille

Friendly pop culture evangelist. Devoted internet junkie. Professional travel expert. Passionate web ninja. Subtly charming coffee geek. Typical twitter fan.

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