…or how to humanise change communications & improve accountability
If you’re a Programme Director or Change Lead working on a change programme or project in a large company, it’s often tempting to have all project communication sent out by the most senior person in the organisation.
After all, your project is SUPER important, so we need to make sure everyone listens.
Well, that’s true to some extent: having your key sponsor launch a project face to face in a town hall or on a roadshow can have impact and shows staff that it is a priority. However once that’s done, the next most important thing to do in my opinion is to introduce the people who are working on the change project.
It’s a pretty sad indictment on the culture of your organisation if you can’t get people to take basic action such as verifying data without someone from the management board asking them to do it.
Here are my tips for better Change Communications:
Put a “Who’s Who?” page on your intranet linked to your project page. Staff need to know who is involved; and project teams and change teams need to be accountable.
Ask your senior sponsor to launch the project and introduce the change leads and/or project leads (depending on how your project is structured). That shows people that the project team have the mandate to proceed.
Don’t let the senior person send out emails asking people to check data, tell people when things are going live, or that are of a very routine nature. Instead let those communications have the name of your project manager at the bottom.
Because it stops your project becoming faceless, and keeps the conversations real. It lets staff see that there is a real person at the heart of the project.
This can also prevent poor information flow becoming a risk to your project because people can communicate back to the right people.
Make use of the “reply-to” feature in your email sending tool (I recommend Poppulo, Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor). It lets you specify where the replies go when the recipient hits REPLY in their email client.
Replies should go to the person whose name is at the bottom of the message. That makes the communication more human and makes them more accountable for what they are asking people to do.
Having your senior stakeholder thank the project team can be a nice touch and lets the project sponsor be seen to be involved with the successful launch.
Andrew Hesselden helps organisations breathe new life into change programmes large and small. Get in touch for a free chat about how he can help improve your internal communications.
Andrew founded Coralfish and works with associate Sarah Browning to offer icChannelCheck, an internal communications audit product designed to analyse how your channels are serving you. Using focus groups and analysing data, we help understand what the “word on the street” is about your change projects.