Well-informed Employees Embrace Change
When employees feel included in important decisions, they will feel like a true partner at work — and more connected as a result.
When people are well-informed and understand the reasoning behind change, they are more likely to align with the organization. That’s true even if they don’t totally agree with the methods.
Communicate important decisions effectively throughout the organization, from the top to the front line, to lay the groundwork for successful change. When done right, you’ll notice most employees are receptive to modifications in the workplace. This is especially true if the changes were inspired by employee feedback.
• Overcommunicate! Different people have different communication styles, so share information in as many ways as possible, and don’t forget to share the “why.”
• Check understanding on both sides. “What I heard was …” “What can I clarify?”
• Quick documentation can do wonders for communication. Put it in writing!
• True communication is always a conversation. Make sure employees always have an avenue to provide feedback and get their concerns addressed.
Big Picture Plans
• Provide communication and active listening training for all managers and leaders.
• Make a habit of formalizing what you plan on sharing after leadership meetings.
• Use technology to open a whole new channel for communication in both directions.
• Set aside time to decide how to communicate as well as what you communicate. A well-considered message can make a huge difference.
What to Watch For
Often, people aren’t sure what they can share, and default to under-communication. A little more transparency is usual helpful.
• Poor communication is a quick route to an “us vs. them” mentality, while clear communication helps create a “we” feeling.
• The most important thing to communicate is the reasoning behind decisions, even if you’re not sure the audience will understand.
• Be sure to include all stakeholders in important decisions. There will be a lot more buy-in to decisions that people felt involved in making.
• Managers often communicate less in troubled times — when they should be communicating more. Encourage them to stay positive without “sugarcoating.”
Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.