The most important aspect to remember when communicating about changes in the workplace is that people will very often have an emotional response to those changes. To ensure communications make the right impact it is vital to understand, predict, and plan for those emotional responses.
Research shows that most organisations undergo major change about once every three years. But, as well as the big changes, there is also a constant churn of many smaller changes taking place.
Major change can include re-structuring or adopting new working processes, while minor change can mean anything from the introduction of new learning and development events or local parking provision. Even the minor changes, when taken cumulatively, can have a major impact on people over time.
When we communicate about change across government it is often at an organisational level. Our change communications usually outline change that affects our department, teams and possibly individuals. In thinking about using communications to help bring about and accept change it is helpful to consider Shaw’s Model of change. This model sets out the idea that change is not a beginning or an end point but instead is an ongoing process. It is an untidy and sometimes clumsy process but it is also a natural part of how organisations evolve. This way of looking at change and our communications seems fitting for the fast moving pace of government reform. It also captures the idea that for us, change is a certainty and helping our people to come to terms with it is one of the most important tasks for communicators.