WITI Seminar Notes: During Corporate Change Communication is Important

By Joanna SorockiWITI (Women in Technology International) event co-sponsored by Northwestern Mutual.
During an outsourcing or any company change, there is a critical transition period during which employees need to be informed. When it is clear to employees what they need to do to benefit the company and to ease transitions, they are usually more than willing to help. One example, was a simple inventory program that the company wanted all employees to run on their computers which would take approximately 12 seconds. The first time the program was sent they received a 2%compliance rate. Employees said they were afraid of what running the program would do to their files. On the second attempt, the employees were sent the same program this time with a clear subject heading indicating why they needed to run the program and announcing that it would not harm any files. The new message produced a dramatic increase in employee compliance.
Smith offered several helpful hints on effective communications. As mentioned before, adding a clear subject heading indicating purpose and results of a change will encourage employee backing. Also, eliminating “techno-babble” keeps messages concise and coherent. Managers and employees from all departments need to receive the same information.
Transitioning can be a difficult time, especially if employees and managers are unaware of “what comes next.” Some ways to prevent confusion include reminding everyone that they are responsible for the company image and reputation allowing each employee to feel a duty to know what is happening. Also, all important messages should come from managers who need to be included as valuable members of the transition teams.
Being proactive means warning managers, employees and clients about changes in a timely and accurate manner.
Smith also explained the “myth of communication.” People disseminate ideas as quickly as possible to as many people as possible, hoping to get results but usually resulting in confusion. In order to effectively communicate, ideas must be filtered through a focused process, which involves associating the idea as part of a sound business strategy, developing expected outcomes, creating specific content, processing and channeling the idea and eventually evaluating its outcomes.
By improving communications during a transition period or just in general, companies can become more productive and build a solid reputation. Clients, employees and managers will all be satisfied because they will know the role they play and how it benefits the companies directly.