Whatever the change management project, it will always ignite a wide variety of emotions amongst your staff – from fear to excitement.
Below we detail the 8 internal comms steps for change management that will help your staff adjust.
Did you know that 70% of change initiatives fail. Let’s ensure your internal communications aren’t the reason for that failure. Here is what you need to do to ensure your NHS internal communications are up to scratch when managing change.
Before you do anything you need to do your research. You need to understand the drivers for the change, the impact and the desired outcomes. In fact, you need to know a lot! Here are all the questions you need clear answers to before you can build an effective change management communications plan.
Once you know everything about the change, you need to consider the impact the change will have on your staff. Group your staff depending on the level of involvement and impact the change will have on them. For example, you may have groups for those who will be directly involved in the change, those who will benefit but aren’t directly involved, those who will be temporarily inconvenienced by the change, etc.
Once you have these groups you can build personas for them. Answer these questions as you do this:
These personas will become your guide when creating your change management communications plan.
With all the background information now collated you can start to map out your plan.
Using a timeline, split your communications between each of the audiences you’ve identified. Consider the type of communication that will be required, the regularity of that communication and the most effective channel to use.
It’s highly likely that your plan will utilise multiple channels at the same time, and these will differ depending on your audience. Channels to consider include:
Also consider the mediums that will be most effective, i.e. written, video, pictorial or verbal. Once again, it’s likely a combination of these will be used.
Once you have matched the audience with the channel and medium, establish the frequency of your communications. Some groups will need more regular updates than others so ensure your timeline carefully considers all your audiences.
Now it’s time to bring your expertise to life. Craft the communications for each of the items you have added to your change management communications timeline. Structure your communications with the ‘why’ first, followed by the ‘what’ and ‘how’.
The ‘why’ element is particularly important and this needs to be reiterated throughout your comms. With a constant reminder of the benefits, it will help to allay any fear and offer reassurance.
For every communication ensure you answer the following question for each audience:
As always, consider the language you use for each audience and ensure every communication is relevant.
In addition to the audiences you have mapped out in your change management communication plan there are a few more groups of people you should think about before you release any communications:
You have already considered the different emotions staff are going to feel but it is important that they feel comfortable airing and discussing these emotions.
They need a safe space to discuss and process the change. These safe spaces could be with their line manager, in focus groups or through surveys. Whatever routes are available, make sure you promote them within your comms.
It would also be beneficial for you to have access to some of this insight. If you have the facility to do so, build regular feedback sessions into your plan. That way you can address their emotions and communicate with compassion. This will help people process the change far more effectively than if their reactions were just ignored.
Whilst a lot of planning is required for change management communications you must also expect change! The three most likely changes you will need to accommodate are:
Once your change communication plan has ended, evaluate its success. Did you achieve all your goals? Were the messages effective? Was there anything lacking? Were there any hurdles? What would you do differently if you ran the communication plan again?
Ensure you seek the opinion of others in this process too – from the staff who received the communications, to the project lead.
Only by analysing the project in this way will you be able to improve future change management communication plans. And the closer you do this to completion, the more informative your conclusions will be.
For change to be successful each individual needs to choose to buy into it. Your change management communications plan needs to influence opinions and change behaviours. Only once you have done this will a change management project be truly successful. By creating informative communications that resonate with each person, your internal communications will be able to influence the speed and effectiveness of a change.
NewZapp Trusted Delivery is an NHS email communication platform that enables our customers to communicate change effectively.
With our email software, you can create visually appealing emails, ensure they are all delivered fast, and access detailed engagement analytics. If you would like to create, deliver and monitor more effective emails, get in touch.
With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve more when we work together towards the same goals.