Chances are you’re working today on a change that affects your team. How you implement that change will impact whether you meet your overall goals.
Here’s the mistake leaders can’t help but make: they wait to communicate. Until they have more information. Until they have “all the answers.” Until it’s often too late.
The result is that someone else is doing the talking – whether they’re right or wrong – and it’s feeding the grapevine. Worse yet, what employees then surmise is happening in their minds usually is much worse than the planned change.
Chances are you have information right now that would be valuable to employees and merits communication to them.
What Employees Want to Know During Times of Change
Here’s what employees would tell you about their needs during times of change:
- Employees want to know what you know today and understand when you don’t have all the facts or details.
- They want to be kept in the loop as plans develop. They want to know what you know when you know it.
- They also want to know what information you’re working on figuring out. When can they expect to get updates?
Given that, here’s the outline for any communication about change:
1. What we know
2. What we don’t know
3. What we’re working on figuring out
4. Myths and the facts (this is about proactively busting myths or misconceptions you’re hearing and correcting any misinformation)
Are you thinking you’re not ready to communicate? List possible messages under each topic above and see whether there’s enough information employees would find valuable to merit communication.
In almost all cases, you’ll have enough information, and begin an important dialogue that will help you minimize the downside of change and maximize the upside.