This is the blog of Communtia GmbH (www.communtia.ch), an owner-run communications management consultancy with tried-and-tested expertise in the areas of strategy, change and crisis communication, as well as in organizational development. It helps you, your company, your organizations and your team to develop and implement strategic communications projects in challenging situations.
When we sat down to write our book on internal and change communications we quickly realised that you need to state some things that we thought were obvious. Looking at what was written on the subject, what was being said on-line and at conferences convinced us that there are a lot of people out there missing the point.
We realised that people tend to get obsessed about the latest cool channel or talk in riddles about cod business psychology. People like to pretend that there is some mystique about talking and influencing people at work.
But there’s not. Employee communication is more of a science than an art.
Readiness to change is one of the preconditions for a successful change management that should transform rapidly changing conditions into new opportunities. It is absolutely essential that all changes in direction, strategy and orientation are communicated to all employees timely, open and honest.
However, the reason that change projects cannot be implemented as planned or even fail is often to be found already at the top level of a company: lack of adequate top-down information, less involvement of middle and lower management and no will to establish a dialogue with employees involved. But experience tells us that employees are sensitive to feel early when something is in the air. Rumours and uncertainty are growing and the willingness to actively participate in upcoming changes declines. More and more people will mentally cut their ties with the job already before they learn more about the company's intentions.
A leading role for Human Resources and Corporate Communications
In order to prevent such loss of emotional ties to the company's operations, Human Resources and Corporate Communications - together with the top management - need to pick up a leading role in the change management process and to run an open and timely information early enough,namely starting before the realignment becomes reality. A targeted integration of all people involved is a must for a successful change management. However, good communication is not done only with a written announcement, a glossy presentation or a nice brochure. It is not print that communicates the change but the managers. They all need to be provided with the necessary training, tools and materials in order to start a fruitful face-to-face dialogue with their staff and act as change agents. In doing so, change is discussed, understood, and the information is not diluted through hierarchical levels and differently interpreted.
Plain text instead of empty words
Cost reductions, restructuring projects and job redundancies include unpleasant messages by nature. Nevertheless, the reasons for change and its impact have to be explained in plain language. Even if messages may seem harsh and painful - they need to be clearly communicated and not trivialized by blurry statements. A successful change management lets the employees actively participate in the change. The more knowledge and know-how they can contribute to the process the greater the readiness to change will be. Motivation and engagement will increase which in turn fosters confidence and stability. But do not forget: "It is always easier to talk about change than to make it." (Alvin Toffler, US futurist).
Internetcommunitys und -plattformen sind auch in Deutschland ein fester Bestandteil im Leben von Jugendlichen geworden. Dabei ist Facebook das bei den jungen Menschen am meisten favorisierte Netzwerk und YouTube das meistgenutzte Online-Videoportal, wie die von einem unabhängigen Meinungsforschungsinstitut durchgeführte Umfrage unter mehr als 1.000 Besuchern auf der You Berlin 2014 zeigt.
Knapp drei Viertel der Befragten nutzen demnach das Internet, um auf YouTube kostenlos Videoclips anzusehen, zu bewerten oder selbst Videos hochzuladen. Mit 72,4 Prozent der Befragten, die das Online-Videoportal als Hauptnutzungsgrund für das Internet angaben, sank die Zahl leicht gegenüber dem Vorjahr (2013: 74,2 Prozent). Während das soziale Netzwerk Facebook seinen Siegerplatz als meistbesuchte Social Community erneut verteidigen konnte, weist die Zahl der Nutzer mit 77 Prozent auf 62,8 Prozent in 2014 dennoch einen starken Einbruchgegenüber dem Vorjahr auf. Der Smartphone-Messenger-Dienst WhatsApp hat Facebook eindeutig in seinem Stellenwert als Kontaktkanal übertrumpft. 69,1 Prozent der Befragten gaben an, per WhatsApp mit ihren Freunden zu kommunizieren. Das sind rund doppelt so viele Nutzer wie 2013 (35,8 Prozent).