The success of organizational change depends on how change is presented and discussed during entire change process.
Understanding and commitment depends largely on how change ideas are communicated and presented to employees and stakeholders.
The important change management models and theories give communication a central role in change process.
For example, the famous Kotter’s 8 steps model of change management emphasise on regularly communicating vision of change and retaining that message in the minds and heart of all stakeholders.
Similarly, ADKAR model of change management, also gives importance to effective communication by saying that every employee must be fully aware about the change. They must have a clear understanding that why change is necessary; what change is going to achieve and how change will be implemented. This basic level of awareness is the first building block of change management.
Lewin’s Model of Chang Management also rely on strong communication in his three steps -unfreeze, change and freeze- of change process.
So, all the theorists and practitioners believe that communication is main driver of change management.
And in the same way, poor communication is one of biggest barrier to successfully implementation of change.
Research also suggests that over communication and lack of communication both are undesirable because they can derail the whole change effort.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what is change communication and why is change communication important in change management.
What is Change Communication?
The best definition of change communication is given by Whelan-Berry and Somerville (2010) as they define change communication as a regular two-way communication specifically about the change initiative, its implementation, related successes, challenges and their resolution.
04 Components of Communication
Like any communication, organizational communication is best explained and understood through the Shanon Weaver model of communication.
According to this model there are four main components of communication – transmitter, message, channel and receiver
- Transmitter: It is a sender who transmits a message.
- Message: A message is a content which sender sends to receiver.
- Channel: It is a medium through which message is transmitted to receiver.
- Receiver: It is who receives the message.
Transmitter expresses the message as a coding process and receiver receives it through decoding process. The success of any communication depends on accuracy of decoding of message by receiver. If receiver understand the language used, and also tone and hidden meaning of message, then message is rightly communicated.
Communication often fails where transmitters and receivers do not have same understanding and have different context.
During change communication, its hard to believe that transmitters and receiver have the same understanding as each other.
08 Reasons explains why is communication important in Change Management
Promoters who use the best communication strategies can better articulate the why, what, and so what of the change, increasing the likelihood that employees will understand and engage in the necessary behaviors for success.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons for why is communication important in change management.
1. Effective Team is built
Its a team who deliver change. One of the key factors behind successful implementation of change is how team is built, how team members interact and collaborate with one another.
Incorporating change communication strategies will go a long way toward creating effective teams.
Change communication contributes to boosting morale and motivation of team members which result into productivity and positive outcome for change.
2. Employees’ voices are heard
Employee satisfaction is heavily dependent on how their voices and heard, whether it’s regarding a suggestion they had or a complaint they have to make.
In change process, employees are afraid of outcome of change and they are in denial or status of shock. Therefore, it is particularly important that employees’ feedback is received and considered seriously.
This can be addressed though building two-way communication process. Having such communication channels allow everyone, regardless of level, to freely communicate with their peer group, coworkers, and superiors.
This not only help to overcome resistance to change but also gain more supporters of change project.
3. Innovation and knowledge is shared
Employees are significantly more likely to contribute ideas when they can openly communicate them without fear of being ridiculed or criticised.
Knowledgeable workers are more likely to share their expertise with others in the organization when there is good interdepartmental communication between workgroups.
This effect of knowledge sharing is especially important today, when many organizations face significant skill gaps among their employees.
4. Successful management
Change Managers who are good communicators are better able to manage their team members.
When you are a strong communicator, the delegation of tasks, conflict management, motivation, and relationship development become much easier.
Strong communication is more than just the ability to speak to people; it is also about empowering them to speak to one another. Due to this reason, facilitating strong communication channels during change management is critical.
5. Increased crisis management
Some of the most significant benefits of good change management communication include improved working environment and easier crisis management.
Organizations with employees who work in hazardous or risky environments during any change management must be aware of the advantages of frequent and consistent communication.
6. Increased loyalty
Long-term retention of employees during change management process can add strength to the organisation and impact the bottom line.
Many jobs necessitate years of experience before an employee can drive innovation, solve critical problems, and lead others.
How an employee feels about the organisation, based on how they believe they are treated and valued as individuals, influences how loyal they will be
7. Enhanced engagement
Better communication throughout change management leads to higher employee engagement, which is an important indicator of employees’ performance and potential retention.
It reinforces the fact that your employees are valuable assets to the organisation because of their unique skills and experience. In other words, their contribution and input is extremely valuable.
8. Greater motivation
Psychologists have discovered that people are less likely to comprehend or remember a concept unless they recognise the “why.”
The same can be said for many aspects of people’s professional lives. An important communication skill for a manager is hearing the why and following up with because. This method will assist in motivating employees.
Successful communication is quite well thought out and deliberately presented since it is the foundation of change management success. Proper workplace communication boosts productivity and creativity, and there are numerous reasons why is communication important in change management. Change leaders who invest time and effort to establish communication channels will shortly see the benefits and earn their workers’ trust, resulting in increased likelihood of successful change outcomes.