How do you go about aligning your communication plan with an overarching business change? It’s hard when comms is not an integral part of the change management efforts.
Communication is one of the most important levers in business change management – strong, consistent and aligned communications are essential to keeping people informed, building awareness and understanding, and (when combined with listening and collaboration plans) changing behaviours.
Therefore, a communications plan should be co-developed and co-delivered by the communications team and the programme’s business change team. This ensures the communications approach and plan is targeting the right audiences, that it addresses the impacts of change, and builds commitment to change at the right time.
If communications is not integral to the change approach, the key question to understand is ‘why?’
Is it a resourcing issue – perhaps a lack of capacity within the internal comms team? Is it a capability issue – perhaps a lack of specialist change comms capability within the programme, or the wider organisation? Is it down to a lack of understanding around the importance of communications among programme, or business stakeholders?
In our experience the most effective way for communications to be integrated into a change programme is by bringing in specialist change communications experts to work alongside the change team. This can be resourced from within the organisation (depending on availability and capability) or from external consultants. A change communications skillset is different from corporate and internal communications, and building in that specialist change comms perspective is essential to ensure the comms team work effectively within the programme. There is certainly plenty of evidence out there which highlights poor communication as a core reason for the failure of change programmes!
Whichever way the comms workstream is resourced it’s important that the programme’s communications approach is developed in conjunction with the business. This means aligning the programme’s comms with business-as-usual communications activity.
It’s therefore essential that the programme forges a close relationship with the organisation’s internal comms team. There should be close alignment around comms planning to ensure that content and messaging is consistent, and that programme comms is effectively targeted using the appropriate channels. Ultimately the right colleagues should be receiving the right messages about the programme at the right time.
If you would like to talk about any of the themes in this post, or more broadly about change communications, please DM our Head of Change Communications – Scott McKenzie.
Marlowe Consulting specialises in business change and change communications to support organisations who are undergoing transformational, technological, and cultural change. With over 30 years of business change experience, we are adept at adapting! Please contact us if you would like to know more about delivering exceptional business change.