How to Prepare Managers to Communicate Change
Businesses are always evolving, whether it’s implementing new technology or making a change to a process which in turn will make it easier for a task to be completed. Whatever the nature of the change, you want to ensure you are providing your leadership team with the tools they need to communicate this change with their teams.
This is especially important because when change takes place, employees often look to leadership for the answers they need.
Employees would rather have their management team provide timely and useful information in simple question and answer form instead of having to sit in a lengthy presentation that often times does not leave room for them to ask questions. Keeping your leadership team in the loop so that they can be ready and prepared to share information related to changes to their employees is key to a smooth transition.
Here are some ways you can help your leadership team succeed in change management:
Prepare Your Management Team
It is important when rolling out a new change, that you take the time to prepare your management team first. This will let them feel informed enough so that they can answer questions and have the inside scoop. If the change is rather complex, then invite your management team to participate in an in-person session or web-based information briefing that offers managers a chance to ask questions and interact with leaders.
Create a Useful Tool Kit
Now that you’ve given managers a thorough understanding of what’s changing, provide them with communication tools they can use to communicate the change to their teams. This tool kit should be packaged in an electronic download or posted on the intranet.
The tool kit should include the following:
A short summary of the change, explaining what it is, why it is happening and what it means for employees.
Brief scripts, which can be used to explain specific parts of a change in more detail.
Techniques and methods that management can use for communicating the changes. These can be things like different forums that you suggest your management team use to communicate change.
Explain what role managers will play in communicating change to staff.
Visuals which show the change. Create a visual map of all the steps of the change and show who will be responsible for each. If the organizational structure is being changed, be sure to include an organizational chart showing what has changed.
If there is no time to create any of the above items, then be sure to at least include FAQ’s along with their answers.
A simple one-page overview for managers to share with team members that shows the change.
Feedback form or online survey to help measure how effective the toolkit was.
Use FAQ’s To Your Advantage
To elaborate a bit more on the importance of FAQ’s; they are a somewhat old-fashioned type of communication method that many consider to be their favorite tool. This is because they allow managers to foresee the tough questions employees might ask, while providing them the information they need to respond with honesty and knowledge. In simple terms, FAQ’s help set up management to be the first source employees look to for more information.
When creating your list of FAQ’s do the following:
Be sure to test your FAQ’s with your management team before finalizing the list.
Think from the employees’ perspective and ask real questions they will ask.
Write your FAQ’s in real people talk. They should sound just like a real person who is answering all the questions.
Of course, no one expects you to have a perfect list of FAQ’s with every possible question that will ever be asked, so it is important to treat your FAQ’s as a process and not a final product. Creating such a process for asking additional questions will allow you to continue updating the FAQ’s list throughout the change process.
By providing managers with the tools they need and preparing them ahead of time, your organization will be ready to roll out a new change with ease.
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