The Vitality of Strategic Communication in Change Management
Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education and life to satiate the curiosity of her lovely readers. Currently, she is serving as a content manager at the ‘Speaking Polymath’. Every piece of content that she writes demonstrates her immense love and passion for her profession.
Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future- John F. Kennedy.
If there is anything that is constant in life- it is “change”. Change is part of life and normally those who fail to adapt to change, change itself forces them to change. The modern world is an ever changing landscape and this law affects every aspect of life. Whether in our homes, countries, or business arena, change is inevitable.
Within the corporate and business world, change has been observed as a key to improving business operations, automation, streamlining workflows, and eliminating resource wastage. More so, the advancement of technology offers better ways of performing tasks, making change to be unavoidable.
On the other hand, bringing change to an organization may prove to be a challenging and expensive task. With the fact that change commonly involves technologies and better methodologies, organizations commonly must incur a lot to bring the desired change. Moreso, change affects different parties, for example, the employees, investors, and customers.
This means an organization must strategize on how to bring the necessary change and communication is key. A communication strategy defines who communicates what to which party. This prevents blunders that may cost a company in terms of time and money. This article explores the vitality of strategic communication in change management and why it shouldn’t be undermined. You can also explore the different change management models that are widely used in the corporate world.
Strategic communication refers to the formalized approach of conveying information to the concerned parties. Effective change communication aligns management goals with other parties’ tasks. Strategic communication highly involves a plan that is followed to deliver information to the right people.
The delivery method matters. Depending on what is to be conveyed and the end receiver, the communication vehicle must be assessed to determine its effectiveness. Additionally, there are many other concerns when it comes to strategic communication during change management as detailed below;
Facets of Strategic Communication
Strategic communication involves many intentional practices that help the stakeholders of an organization understand operations and what is expected of them. For example;
It involves communicating the company vision and why change is necessary. When the different stakeholders such as the employees and suppliers understand the need for change, it lays a firm foundation for project success. The management must help stakeholders understand the vision of the company and how they can manage change effectively.
Strategic communication also requires the management to introduce reliable mediums that help the involved parties to receive timely information and make proper decisions. Depending on the required change, the management must leverage effective communication channels, for example, videos, text material, seminars, training, video conferences, and project management software among others.
Additionally, there should be possibilities for face-to-face dialogue to clear any doubt that the different parties may have.
Strategic communication also involves helping employees and other stakeholders such as the customers, employees, and investors understand the need for change. In many cases, transition processes in organizations fail because the involved parties aren’t briefed thoroughly to understand why they need to change their practices or skills. This makes the change management process cumbersome and at times, leads to failure.
It involves helping parties understand why change is necessary and what to expect afterward.
The Vitality of Strategic Communication in Change Management1. Fosters Accountability
Effective communication is a major trait of every competent change leader. If the change leader clearly understands the nature of the change to bring to an organization, this serves as the basis for proper change management. But, communication stands as a key to successful change implementation.
IBM indicates that 72 percent of employees do not have complete knowledge of their company’s strategy and some are unable to understand it because of communication gaps. Without proper communication, there is no alignment between management plans and employee tasks.
Moreso, it makes change difficult and unable to produce the desired results. Strategic communication helps the involved parties to understand the role they play during the change process. When the different parties know what to do and when to do it, it improves accountability.2. Minimization of Resource Wastage
Bringing change to an organization can cause a standstill, especially in production and manufacturing plants. Due to the interruption, raw materials may be wasted, and employees may be requested to halt production, which could lead to resource wastage.
Effective and strategic communication, however, helps change managers minimize resource wastage. When all involved parties such as procurement, logistics, and team leaders know what to do and how to communicate with the different departments, this reduces resource wastage.3. Reduction in Downtime
Change is associated with a certain degree of downtime. This is the period the company’s resources may lie idle. Depending on the nature of the change, some departments may halt operations, leading to a loss of revenue.
Proper change management characterized by strategic communication causes little or no disruption to a company’s operations. That’s because all changes are discussed and approved beforehand. Besides that, their effect is clearly ascertained by the different parties. With that, any organization that desires to bring change to its processes must evaluate its communication plan and the downtime involved.4. Problem Resolution
Change can be expensive and frustrating, depending on the issues to be encountered during the process. Any change manager must understand the possible problems that are to be encountered during the change implementation and how to deal with them. And everything depends on proper communication.
One of the most reliable wheels for successful change is putting people first. What are the problems that the customers might face or the investors? What are the possible ways to deal with them? Setting key performance indicators to evaluate project progress can help change managers ensure a smooth change.
Training participation, employee engagement, employee feedback, and survey results can indicate the performance of your communication strategy. You can then conduct a gap analysis to attain insights into your current position and future goals. These metrics can help to deal with problems during change processes.5. Maintains Business Relations
Strategic communication during change management maintains relations, otherwise many organizations lose important relationships during change implementation. Organizational transformation shouldn’t be at the cost of vital business relations, especially with customers and investors.
Create a time management plan to inform the parties about the change process and how long it will take. In the case of customers, you can use email to convey the message and apologize for the inconvenience. The same applies to business investors. This shows responsibility and can eliminate ambiguity.
Strategic and effective communication during change management is essential. It not only helps an organization reduce downtime, but it also creates room for efficiency. It can also help an organization understand the expectations of partners and the other involved parties. Besides that, strategic communication ensures that every change process is effectively managed.