I am sure that we got the message across. But what did actually happen?
Measurement is critical in times of change and the best communication strategies involve measuring for effectiveness. It is important to understand whether messages are hitting the mark and to confirm that people are on the same page as you (or at least the page you expected them to be on).
Your first step is to list the desired outcomes of your change communications project, and decide how you will measure the success of each outcome. And do you have current data to use as a comparison?
You probably want to measure:
- Staff attitudes (to the project, to how well their managers get the message across)
- Staff emotions (where they are on the change curve?)
- Level of skill development or knowledge acquisition
- How well is your communications strategy working?
- Have messages been received, read and understood?
If you measure every step of the way, you can tweak messages and change tack when an approach is not working as well as it might. Regular surveys that give a snapshot of how people are feeling allow you to track the overall trend, otherwise it is easy to let your opinion of progress be colored by the ‘squeaky wheels’ in your organization;
You need to gather qualitative as well as quantitative data, and decide on effective ways to present and use the information. Proof of progress validates your planning, informs management and motivates staff.
It is important to take the time to privately and publicly recognize and congratulate small wins, and steps along the way. Celebrating the wins can be the single most important part of this process. Celebrating wins can be as easy as:
- personal notes,
- or even a note from a senior manager
If you don’t deliver in a way that is significant it is not contributing to your project success.
1. Emphasize success rather than failure. Focus on catching people doing the “right things”.
2. Timing is critical. Recognize efforts all throughout a project and reward as close to possible to results you want repeated. Strive to have a clear link between results and rewards.
3. Deliver recognition in an open publicized way. If not made public, recognition loses much of its impact that it can have.
Most of all, celebrate your wins together!
The key is to remember to be the cheerleader and recognize contributions all along the journey of your project. Use these ideas to be creative with low cost ways to build up the team members and cheer successes frequently!
This is part 11 in the 11 part Series: Tips to Communicate Change Effectively to Staff
This series is based on an article by Communications specialist Sarah Perry. Sarah is a Director of Snap Communications, http://www.snapcomms.com, a company which provides specialist Internal Communications tools and Employee Communications Solutions.
Have any other suggestions? Please comment and share below.