Tips for effective communication during times of change


Effective internal communications and engagement is one of the most important elements of any business culture - even more so when undergoing any kind of change or improvement.


With lots of businesses currently adapting to new ways of working, we thought we'd share some helpful pointers for you to think about.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce have got this great downloadable resource about internal communications in their Business Toolkit: Business Toolkit - Internal Communications


And reflecting on a conversation I had recently with Simon Spencer, a friend and previous colleague of mine and Internal Communications Manager at Network Rail, I've included some extra points for consideration below:

Leadership
All successful improvement projects are championed, led and supported by strong leadership.
This is fundamental.
As a business leader you should:
  • Set out your vision, explain what you're trying to achieve and why. 
  • Explain how you're going to get there, what it means for everyone, get buy-in.
  • Be visible & approachable and maintain integrity.

Honesty
Honesty really is the best policy. 
Of course, there may be good commercial reasons for keeping some things confidential - but otherwise, you should be as transparent as possible.
Your employees are adults, they (usually) want to be there and they want to do a good job.
Especially if something has gone wrong, you're heading in a different direction than planned or you're facing a challenge: let them know, let them in - explain what is happening, but avoid blame. Ideally even let them help - it may be where the best ideas and solutions come from. Don't be afraid to fail and share the lessons that failure brings.
Remember, be visible, be approachable and maintain integrity.

Channels
From a practical point of view, you'll see that the toolkit mentions a couple of options for engagement - telephone, video, face-to-face, written messages etc.
The key here is to consider your organisation's main way of working - what is going to be the most appropriate way of getting the message out there and the most engaging for the audience?
You should think about what the message is, who the audience is, how many people you're communicating with, whether action or response is required… and many more. And with more of a shift than ever to remote and flexible working, this will impact your decisions.

Celebrations!
This might be an obvious one, but it's really important so I wanted to mention it anyway.
In a world where it's easy to focus on the negative, remember to celebrate successes and praise your teams.
Make sure you recognise hard work, positive attitudes, contributions etc. And don't forget your unsung heros - we wouldn't get anywhere without reliability and consistency. 
It doesn't even need to be monetary recognition if that's not feasible (as nice as it is) - give shout outs, publish some of their work, pop over or call them to personally deliver your thanks.


I hope you find some practical help in here that you can implement now, or when you're looking at your next improvement project.

If you want a chat about anything in this article, I'd love to hear from you - drop me an e-mail at danielle@dhprofessionalsolutions.co.uk

And remember, DH Professional Solutions can help you with all elements of business change and improvements - get in touch today for a free no-obligation consultation.

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