The best communication channels for change management

Careful use of these powerful communication channels can make innovation and change a lot less disruptive for your team.

Hugo Lakin
by Hugo Lakin
communication channels

Idea Drop’s Innovation Breakfast events series is continuing in July in partnership with the Post Office. With almost 12,000 branches around the country and several hundred years of change and innovation, the Post Office has learned a thing or two about how to communicate. That’s why we’ve decided to focus our July event on strategic communication channels for change management.

Change, even when it’s for the better, can be difficult for any company. Teams have a lot of pressure on their shoulders, and new innovations often means disruption to the day-to-day processes that they’ve become acclimatised to. If you’re unable to clearly communicate the benefits of changes to your work environment, trust and job satisfaction can both plummet.

The way you communicate, then, is of utmost importance to successful innovation outcomes. This week, we’re going to explore the best ways to announce changes. All of the communication channels below have their own advantages and disadvantages, so choose carefully.

Face-to-face meetings

Without a doubt, the most powerful way to communicate with somebody is in conversation. When you’re face-to-face, it’s easy to gauge a person’s reaction to your changes, understand their individual needs and adapt your story to fit them. Everyone has their own communication style and you’ll be able to assess and respond to each person best when you’re in the room with them. Of course, this isn’t always practical, but it’s a good idea to make space for one-to-one conversations with your highest priority stakeholders.

Presentations (with Q&A)

There comes a time when you need to communicate changes to your team in mass. Group presentations are the go-to method of doing this for most managers. However, there are significant disadvantages to this approach. Firstly, it’s much more difficult to cater to individual needs and concerns within a group than, for example, one-to-one communication. Your team is also much more likely to be hesitant about voicing their concerns or queries in public, meaning many of their worries will go unaddressed. A Q&A session can go a long way to helping alleviate concerns, but the lack of anonymity will always be an issue.

Email

Although email messages can seem impersonal, they’re a great way of communicating a message to the wider team whilst also providing them with the chance to feedback anonymously. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to think carefully about the wording you use in your message. On the downside, however, you can’t always be sure that the whole team has read your message. A good way around this is by using an opening tracker such as Hunter to make sure your emails have been opened.

Digital platforms

Digital innovation management platforms like Idea Drop offer something no other communication channels can – total transparency through the entire innovation funnel. Your team will be able to track the journey of an idea from conception through to implementation, watching it develop every step of the way. Key stakeholders will also be able to feedback in real time, allowing you to develop your project in accordance with your team’s needs. Idea Drop even has the option to post ideas and feedback anonymously, allowing people to voice their concerns without fear of reproach.

Websites

Online reference platforms such as microsites and intranets can be great ways to communicate if you have a lot of information to put across, especially when your team will need to refer back to new protocols or processes. You can pair websites and microsites with rich media such as videos, podcasts or even AR platforms for really clear communication. However, don’t forget that you can’t keep track of how people react to your changes – it might be best to use web-based channels as a follow up to one of the channels above.

If you’d like to learn more about communication channels for change management, join us in July at the Innovation Breakfast. It’s your opportunity to learn change communication strategies from the very best in the business.

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