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Module 1: Módulo 2: Gerenciamento de Mudanças e Comunicação

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Communication Strategies

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Change Management and Communication
Communication Strategies

Introduction

A communication strategy helps guide your communication activities through the change process and ensures that you are actively engaging all your stakeholders.

The communication strategy articulates and answers the ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘why’. It includes the following elements:

Goals, objectives and principles

Audiences and key messages

Methods and tactical planning

Communication infrastructure

Measurement and evaluation

Early Communication

When communicating about major change, you should communicate early and often.

Initially the communication will focus on the possible outcomes of the change. This is the priority topic for employees - they want the uncertainty to be reduced. While you will not have all the answers at all times, you can help reduce uncertainty by communicating:

The timeframes associated with the change
Alternative scenarios, highlighting what may happen and what options are being considered
Ranges and estimates: if you are reducing the workforce, can you provide a range?
If your budget is being reduced, by what factor?
Hypotheses: what you believe may happen; what you are working towards.

Internal and External Communication

Internal and external communication should be run simultaneously throughout periods of change.

Internal communication is with employees. External communication is with other stakeholders.

Job seekers and the Department of Employment are usually the key external stakeholders. Members of the broader community and others with an interest in your organisation may also be important external stakeholders.

It is preferable that employees are advised of major changes either before or at the same time as external announcements are made.

It is damaging to the reputation of leaders and the level of trust in the organisation if the staff hear about the change from external sources before being advised by management.

Communication Channels and Methods

Different communication channels should be used to ensure you reach your audience. Each channel is useful for a particular communication task, for example:

Intranet is best for short, quick information retrieval.

Paper is best for learning long, complicated, new ideas.

Face-to-face is best for sensitive information and changing behaviour.

The importance of the communication process cannot be understated in the process of change. Study the tips attached to this slide to improve your communication skills throughout the process of change.

Tips

ENVISAGE AND DESCRIBE THE CHANGE JOURNEY - Create a story; ensure people can see, hear and feel the vision.

DESCRIBE THE CHANGE - THE WHAT AND THE WHY - Help others see the need for the change and the importance of acting quickly.

EXPLAIN THE CURRENT EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT TRENDS - Give people all the facts and outline the challenges you as a team are likely to face.

APPOINT A TEAM TO MANAGE THE CHANGE - Let people know who the team is and ensure the team members are visible.

COMMUNICATE FOR UNDERSTANDING AND BUY-IN - Send clear, credible
and heartfelt messages.

Reactions to Change

Some people naturally resist change. When dealing with resistance, you should:

Acknowledge the legitimacy of anger or frustration
Distinguish between feelings and inappropriate behaviour
Reiterate the reasons for change that the senior management has articulated
Focus on how the individual or their function will benefit from the change
Provide a series of specific next steps and follow up frequently
Keep problem solving focused on the root cause and reinforce positive actions the individual can take.

Reactions to Change (Continued)

You should take the earliest opportunity to discuss any changes that may affect your employees.

Your management team are responsible for providing support to employees who may not have an ongoing job in the organisation. This can include:

Assisting in identifying training requirements
Allowing reasonable time off work to attend training
Encouraging job seeking activities
Ensuring the employee has meaningful duties
Acknowledging that some employees may feel anxious about the change and encouraging them to access support

Employee Reactions during Change

Employee reactions as a result of change can vary depending on the individual.

The following section describes some of the emotional responses people may experience and how you can help.

Acceptance

Employee Reaction:

Individual expresses ownership for solutions Individual expresses ownership for solutions.

How Managers Can Help:

Use the individual as a coach or mentor for others.

Anger

Employee Reaction:

Individual tries to sabotage the change effort.

How Managers Can Help:

Acknowledge legitimacy of anger.

Bargaining

Employee Reaction:

Individual tries to “cut a deal” to spare himself or herself Individual tries to “cut a deal” to spare himself or herself.

How Managers Can Help:

Focus on how the individual or his/her team will benefit from the change.

Denial

Employee Reaction:

Individual displays apathy and numbness (e.g., “I don’t care what happens” or “It doesn’t matter to me”)

How Managers Can Help:

Emphasise that the change will happen.

Depression

Employee Reaction:

Individual expresses a loss of control over the work environment.

How Managers Can Help:

Provide a series of specific next steps and follow up frequently.

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