How Can Internal Communications Be Managed During Major Organizational Changes?

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    PR Thrive

    How Can Internal Communications Be Managed During Major Organizational Changes?

    In the midst of significant organizational shifts, it's crucial to maintain effective internal communications. We've gathered six insights from PR experts and company leaders, including Managing Consultants and Heads of Marketing. They range from introducing regular, transparent town halls to breaking down change into manageable steps, offering a spectrum of strategies to keep teams informed and engaged.

    • Introduce Regular Transparent Town Halls
    • Focus on Positive Change Aspects
    • Explain Why and Offer Support
    • Schedule Town Hall Meetings and Feedback Loops
    • Create a Clear Communication Plan
    • Break Down Change Into Manageable Steps

    Introduce Regular Transparent Town Halls

    During a major organizational change at Spectup, clear and empathetic communication was crucial. I remember a particular instance when we were merging with another firm, and the uncertainty was palpable. To manage this effectively, we introduced a series of regular, transparent "town hall" meetings.

    These meetings were not just one-way information sessions but interactive discussions where employees could ask questions and voice their concerns directly to the leadership team. We also set up a dedicated internal communication channel on our company intranet, where updates were posted in real time and feedback was actively encouraged.

    One time, an employee expressed concerns about job security, which was a widespread fear. Addressing this openly in a town hall, we assured everyone that while roles might shift, the merger aimed to create more opportunities, not cut jobs.

    Niclas Schlopsna
    Niclas SchlopsnaManaging Consultant and CEO, spectup

    Focus on Positive Change Aspects

    A time of change is one of the best opportunities to gain (or lose) trust with your employees. I have personally managed these tricky times with a focus on the positive aspects of the change. While you don't want to come off as overly optimistic, there is almost always a way to spin the news to feature the opportunity, benefit, or ease to your employees that this change will bring.

    However, my best advice to clients is to keep your teams' trust in mind when communicating major organizational changes. To earn trust, be sure to give the details and information that would be useful to you if you were to place yourself in their shoes.

    Brianna Cox
    Brianna CoxPeople Experience Manager, Marathon Health

    Explain Why and Offer Support

    We openly explained the “why” behind the change, addressing employee concerns and anxieties head-on. Town halls, Q&A sessions, and regular updates kept everyone informed. We acknowledged the disruption change brings and expressed appreciation for employee contributions. We offered support through training, resources, and open communication channels. This approach fostered trust and understanding. Employees felt valued and equipped to adapt, minimizing disruptions and driving a smoother transition.

    Beth Worthy
    Beth WorthyCofounder and President, GMR Transcription Services, Inc.

    Schedule Town Hall Meetings and Feedback Loops

    One effective way to manage internal communications during a major organizational change is to ensure all lines of communication are open and transparent. Regularly scheduled town hall meetings can provide a platform for leadership to share updates, address concerns, and outline the steps involved in the change process. This open forum allows employees to voice their questions and feedback directly to decision-makers, fostering a sense of inclusion and transparency.

    Leveraging internal communication tools like intranets, newsletters, and chat platforms can keep everyone informed and engaged. These tools can be used to share important updates, celebrate small wins, and provide resources that help employees understand and adapt to the changes. Keeping the communication consistent and accessible ensures that everyone is on the same page and reduces uncertainty.

    Finally, creating feedback loops is crucial. Encourage managers to hold regular one-on-one meetings with their team members to gather their thoughts and concerns. This approach not only helps employees feel heard but also allows leadership to adjust strategies based on real-time feedback. By maintaining open lines of communication, you create a more flexible and engaged workforce that is better equipped to navigate the changes.

    Greg Davis
    Greg DavisFounder, Azola Creative

    Create a Clear Communication Plan

    Whenever we go through a major organizational change, it is important to have a clear communication plan. When I was working at a previous organization, we went through a restructure, and the communication plan included regular information updates, Q&A sessions, and targeted feedback sessions.

    We also set up a central communication hub on our intranet so that employees could effectively and easily access the details on what the restructure was about: timelines, FAQs, points of contact for further inquiries. This also helps in reducing uncertainty.

    Mark McShane
    Mark McShaneFounder, Cupid Digital PR

    Break Down Change Into Manageable Steps

    Facing organizational change can be tense, but effective internal communication strategies can significantly ease the transition. In my role as Head of Marketing at BusinessMap, I've handled several such instances. One method that has consistently shown results involves breaking down the change process into smaller steps, accompanied by clear, context-rich communication at each stage.

    For instance, when our company decided to transition towards agile methodologies, we ensured everyone understood why this change was happening, what it entailed, and how it would impact their roles. Using a streamlined project management tool, we laid out the transition plan, visualizing each step. Additionally, workshops and open forums were held to encourage participation, active questioning, and feedback. This comprehensive approach kept all team members informed and engaged, eliminating apprehension and fostering an environment of acceptance and collaborative effort towards the change.

    Pavel Naydenov
    Pavel NaydenovHead of Marketing, Businessmap