Communication is a make-or-break component in the success or failure of change management.

Organizations try their best to use communication that help employees to deliver during tough times of change.

But how to craft that communication which ensure successful implementation of change?

It is a communication plan that ensures effective communication.

It is a communication plan that guides the process of communicating in change management. It tells what information need to be sent, when to send it and how to communicate change and other details of change project.

When a change communication plan is well-thought-out and executed rightly, it actually helps in explaining and gaining support for the change initiative.

In this blog post, we’ll define 08 steps to create communication plan in change management.

Let’s discuss these in detail.   

08 Steps to Create Communication Plan in Change Management 

Here are these 08 steps that help to create an effective communication plan for change management.

1. Define objectives of communication

The first step towards creating communication plan is to craft well-defined goals and objectives. The objectives are based on following questions:

  • What do you want to achieve through this communication?
  • How will you evaluate success of communication?

These objectives are statements that what are those areas and key issues or knowledge that you want to inform people or other stakeholders of change initiative. Objectives should reflect on what is cause of change and why this change is necessary.

Objectives should also include how people function today and how they will work in the future. So, communication objective must be aligned with overall objective and purpose of change.

2. Know your target audience  

The second step is to have a clear idea about your target audience. Who you want to talk to?

Your audience could be employees, customers, managers or other stakeholders. Identify them by asking why it is important to talk to them.

Sometimes you need to prioritise your audience i.e your primary audience could be employees and workers, and your secondary audience could be middle managers and customers.

It’s also important to fully understand who they are, what they desire, what they need, their issues, what inspires them, and what they dislike.  This can be done through audience profiling.

3. Define key messages

After identifying objectives and target audiences, the next step is to figure out what you want to say. You’ll probably have some overarching key messages as well as particular and personalized messages for each of target audiences.

When defining your key messages, make sure that you clearly outline what the change initiative is and what you will be communicating. 

You can analyse what is the current behaviour and practices and what is the desired behaviour and practices. This will help you in developing your key messages of change management.

It’s also important to understand resistance to change. Because most of the time, change communication revolves around resistance and one of the biggest objectives of change communication is to overcome that resistance.

There are certain important points which you need to take into account before developing key messages:

  • Make sure that messages are clear, simple and easy to understand.
  • Messages are written in engaging tone.
  • There should be emotional appeal in messages.
  • Information given through messages is authentic.
  • There is a call to action in all key messages.

4. Identify channels for communication

The next step is to identify how you are going to communicate with your target audience.

Each of your target audience have certain preferences regarding communication. For examples, some people would prefer email, while others would avoid this traditional method of communication.

Many a times workers are more comfortable with interpersonal communication with their supervisors and managers.

You can also take in account utility of audio video channels of communication and also power of social media can not be ignored as well.

Keep this in mind that every channel has its owns pros and cons which need to be analysed and identified right one for your change communication.

Here are few most effective channels that you can employ for your change communication:

  • Interpersonal communication: Many individuals tend to get information about major changes from their leader in person. This could be done through a supervisor during a team meeting, town halls etc.
  • Audio Video: Its the age of audio video content. Short videos are very powerful and impactful if these are made with a good story telling method.
  • Written Communication: Some people like to get information through email, letter and memo. However, it may not be as effective for others. This is because excess of written communication can lead to information being overlooked or ignored.
  • Forums: Special forums whether digital or live can be organised to have a focused discussion where employees and leadership can discuss the change, ask questions about change and have feedback on role and responsibilities.

5. Define resource and knowledge

The next step is to identify what are resources required to make communication smooth and effective.

It could be anything like guide books, toolkits, research material, resources about new knowledge or information about training courses.

These resources should be sufficient to make and update content for communication.

Its the leaders and change agents who drive change and inspire others to navigate through tough process of change.

As they are communicating change the most so they need specific resources such as a toolkit for communicating change. So communication plan must focus on what information will be required to make such toolkit and how it be updated regularly.

6. Define roles and responsibilities in communication

This step asks to identify who will be communicating important information and knowledge about change.

Its the leadership responsibility to communicate change so role of leadership is very significant in entire change initiative. There are many research studies which reveal that employees and workers want to hear from their leaders and managers during change project.

While developing communication plan of change management, it is important to engage those leaders, managers and change agents those have good communication skills and those who are more articulate and believe in positive outcome of change.

A good communication plan also explain what leadership will communicate and what will be shared by managers and change agents. Their frequency to communicating messages through assigned channels also need to be identified in this plan. expectations

7. Provide feedback mechanism  

Two-way communication is critical for success of any communication. So, communication plan outlines what would be mechanism of two-way communication.

Quick survey are a great way to get input at any point in the change process. They may also help you figure out if the people of your organization understand what’s going on and what they need to do. Surveys can also be used to evaluate engagement and enthusiasm.

Face-to-face consultations, discussion boards on your network, town halls, Q&A sessions, and focus groups are all examples of additional feedback tools.

8. Define how you will evaluate your communication

It’s critical to incorporate procedures for determining whether your internal communications initiatives were successful. 

While you may be able to identify whether the change has been adopted successfully or not based on observation, you must also assess how beneficial your communications have been in reaching that point.

The campaign can be evaluated using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. Examine the analytics for the various resources you’ve produced to see how frequently they were used and if there are some other interesting trends.

You can also conduct a survey or solicit input from employees in various methods. You must have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

Final Words

Communication leads to successful change management. It is about telling and discussing about change. The success of any organizational change depends on how change is presented, how new knowledge is created and shared with employees and all those who are affected by this change. Thats why it should be done carefully and in a right way. And for this organizations need to have a communication plan. There are certain steps to create communication plan in change management. These steps guide that communication is made in an effective way to achieve purpose of change.