When companies or government agencies undertake a significant transformational change, they often believe they communicate well with employees or that employees are well-informed about the change. However, is that true? Organizations’ intentions are good; they want to convey information to employees that matters. However, there’s often a hesitation to communication until everything has been decided, share only the positive aspects of the change or to ignore people’s concerns about the change.

At Resigility, we have seen that ineffective communication can lead to disengagement by employees and foster a culture based on anxiety, the exact opposite of what leaders intend. As a result, we believe that any transformation needs to include a communication strategy built upon Three “F”s:

  • Frequent communications are critical: If there is nothing to say since the last communication, leaders must still state that and why.  Employees deserve to know that changes are coming, even if they are not fully vetted.
  • Fears must be addressed: Change can be scary. As a result, any initiative that results in significant change will breed fear. In the absence of accurate information, rumors will persist that can result in a toxic culture. Communications must acknowledge employees’ fears, explain the value of the transformation, and assure people there will be a positive outcome in the end.
  • Feedback loops need to be created: Communications are not a one-way street. Throughout any change initiative, there must be channels for employees to provide feedback. Surveys or focus groups to understand employees feelings and concerns are effective ways to bring different perspectives into the conversation and conduct a pulse check of employee attitudes.

Transformation in whatever form is difficult for organizations. Not communicating effectively makes that transformation all that much harder and lessens the chances of success. Focusing on effective communications will lead to a much better outcome for any organization.