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Communicating in Times of Change
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Communicating in Times of Change

Needless to say, we have all experienced quite a bit of change over the past year and a half! Whether the majority of your team is still working remotely or you are transitioning back into the office environment, there is still a level of uncertainty and our environments are constantly changing. While transparency is important for staff morale, there are times when you are not able or allowed to share information. This often happens when your organization is undergoing change, and management wants information released in a controlled, timely manner. Unfortunately, this often leads to an environment that encourages rumor and gossip. How can you control this when you can’t talk about the changes? Here are some tools you can use.

  • Be Honest

Frequent communication is vital during times of change to demonstrate your leadership and commitment to your staff. Have open, frank conversations with employees to drive the change and reinforce the need for change. Be as open as possible. Provide answers to questions along with information to alleviate concerns. 

If you don’t have information, explain why and state when you might have it. Consider noting, “Information needed” on a chart and revisit it in the future.

Change is a process, not a destination! Be forthright and tell your staff that you may not be able to discuss certain things because they are in flux and might change. Rather than cause confusion, it is important to wait until decisions are finalized before sharing that information. 

  • Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of the Organization

Listen for rumors and address them quickly before they become viral. Be as open as possible and address questions head-on. It is natural to fear change, especially when not all information can be shared. Understand that your employees will have concerns and make it safe for them to express their worries and uncertainty. 

Keep them focused on the reasons for the change, how it will benefit the organization, and what career opportunities might become available. Don’t sugarcoat it, but don’t focus on the negative. See my blog postSee my blog post Enthusiasm Is Contagious for more information. 

  • Cultivate Early Adopters

An early adopter is someone who is eager to embrace the change and is enthusiastic about learning new things and having new opportunities. These employees can be champions for the change and can influence other employees who may be resistant or fearful. Make your early adopters part of your communication team and allow them to mentor and coach other team members to make the transition smooth.

  • Recognize Small and Big Wins

Keep employees focused on the contributions they make to your team and how the changes can enhance those contributions and make them more valuable. Recognize achievements and show appreciation for continued performance during uncertain times.

For most employees, change is a fearful process, and it’s your job to make the process as easy as possible for them. Be encouraging, provide resources to help them transition smoothly, and acknowledge their concerns and fears.