Fostering Change from Within: Insights from the Internal Communications Expert Panel at the Advanced Learning Institute’s “Internal Communications to Drive Change” Virtual Conference
On April 5th, I had the opportunity to attend the “Internal Communications to Drive Change” virtual conference hosted by Advanced Learning Institute (ALIConferences.com). The panel of internal communications featuring experts from Home Centered Care Institute, Vertafore, Infrastructure And Energy Alternatives, Inc. (IEA), Get Your Shine, and the California Department Of Insurance shared invaluable insights and best practices on how organizations can effectively leverage internal communications to drive change. If you missed it, here are some highlights and key learnings from the panel discussion.
These insights revolve around putting humanity back into communications, understanding the emotional impact of change on employees, considering the employee experience, leveraging organizational culture, authenticity in leadership, celebrating small wins, and the role of internal communications in advancing the organization.
1. Put Humanity Back into Communications and Use Real Words, Not Corporate Cliches One of the key learnings from the panel was the importance of using authentic and relatable language in internal communications. Employees are more likely to connect with messages that are communicated in a human and relatable way, rather than using corporate jargon or cliches. The panelists emphasized the need to avoid generic phrases and buzzwords, and instead use real words that resonate with employees on a personal level. By putting humanity back into communications, organizations can build trust, authenticity, and engagement among employees.
2. Ask Yourself “How Are They Going to Feel” When Your Audience Reads Your Message of Change Change can be emotionally challenging for employees, and the panelists emphasized the importance of considering the emotional impact of change when crafting internal communications. Before sending out messages related to change, it’s crucial to put yourself in the shoes of the employees and ask yourself how they are going to feel when they read the message. Understanding the emotions that employees may experience, such as fear, uncertainty, or resistance, can help in framing messages that address their concerns, provide reassurance, and build empathy.
3. Think Through a Day in the Life of an Employee Going Through Change and What They Want to Know When communicating change, it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of employees and think through their perspective. The panelists highlighted the importance of considering a day in the life of an employee going through change and understanding what they would want to know. This involves anticipating the questions, concerns, and information needs of employees at different stages of the change process. By providing relevant and timely information, organizations can keep employees informed, engaged, and motivated during times of change.
4. Culture Does Not Change with Cake and Balloons, But in the Little Moments Between People Organizational culture plays a crucial role in driving change, and the panelists emphasized that culture cannot be changed solely through grand gestures or events. While celebrations and events can be a part of the change process, true cultural change happens in the small moments between people. This involves leaders and employees consistently modeling the desired culture through their behaviors, actions, and interactions. Internal communications can play a vital role in reinforcing the desired culture by consistently communicating messages that align with the organization’s values, vision, and mission.
5. You’ll Never Get a Chance to Make a Second Impression – Everything Communicates Something The panelists stressed that every communication, whether formal or informal, intentional or unintentional, conveys a message. From the tone of an email to the design of a poster, every detail matters and contributes to the overall perception of the message. It’s crucial for organizations to be mindful of the messages they convey through their internal communications and ensure they align with the intended objectives of the change initiative. A well-thought-out communication strategy that is consistent, clear, and aligned with the organization’s values and culture can make a lasting impression on employees and drive change within your organization.
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