When an industry is flooded with change it often leads to the making or breaking of great companies. Why do some thrive where others fail? How can we ensure our staff cope with these periods of intense change?
The number 1 rule of effective change management is to over-communicate
No organization exists in which employees are completely happy with communication. It is one of the toughest issues to get right. When change is prevalent, whether it be internal changes or external factors, communication is the area most frequently complained about by employees. You cannot over-communicate when you are asking your organization to cope with change.
Here are our top rules for effective change management (and how your Learning Management System (LMS) should help.)
1. Communicate proactively. If the rumour mill is already in action, you’ve waited too long. Distribute relevant messages instantly to employees via your LMS and monitor who has read them. Reminders can be automatically sent. Your LMS should understand different levels of your companies hierarchy and can distribute relevant communications accordingly.
2. Communicate all that is known about the changes, as quickly as the information is available. (Make clear that your bias is toward instant communication, so some of the details may change at a later date.) Your LMS allows employees to access information at any time, on any device and allows managers to monitor who has read updates and changes.
3. Communicate consistently, frequently and through multiple channels. Face-to-face workshops, focus groups and 1-2-1s may all be relevant. Your LMS also enables you to create and distribute documents, videos, webinars and micro-training modules to different groups of employees, depending on what they need to see. And monitor who’s viewed them.
4. Involve people. Involvement creates commitment—nothing else is as significant during a change process. Carry out employee feedback surveys via your LMS. Keep them short and sweet; one or two questions every fortnight is better than a 50 question annual survey.
5. Make management available. Social-style discussion boards on your LMS provide an opportunity for managers and employees to network with each other, both formally and informally, to share questions, ideas and resources.
6. Get people together. Hold interactive workshops and forums in which all employees can explore the changes together, while learning more. Events can be organised and communicated via your LMS.
7. Help employees understand how changes will affect them personally. (If you don’t help with this process, people will make up their own stories, usually more negative than the truth.) Important information can be broken down into fun, interactive, engaging micro-modules, and quizzes distributed via your LMS. Powerful reporting allows management to identify areas that are more challenging for your employees to understand, or identify employees who are struggling to understand the information shared.