What Is Change Communication? (With Importance and Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Change communication, or change of communication, allows management professionals to share information about a workplace change to help team members process and accept it. This form of change management is essential in assisting an organisation in acclimating and understanding change. Because workplaces and practices often evolve and incorporate new ideas, it's important for all professionals to understand how to practise effective communication during times of change. In this article, we discuss communication of change, explain its importance and share steps to help you communicate change within an organisation.

What is change communication?

Change communication is the process of sharing information and conversing about an upcoming or current change in the workplace. Leadership professionals within a company can use these communication practices to help team members adjust to various workplace changes. Some types of changes that organisations can use the change of communication process for include:

  • Technological: These may include technological system or application changes, such as getting new desktops or changing data security practices. For these changes, organisations may include more training in their change-of-communication strategies.

  • Operational: Operational changes include aspects of a professional's daily routine that might change, such as operating hours or business practices.

  • Objective: If an organisation is shifting its main business objectives, it communicates this change to ensure team members adjust their work practices accordingly. For example, if a production company wants to commit to eco-friendly practices, it might change supplies to create more biodegradable products.

Why is change of communication important?

Change of communication allows professionals to prepare and adapt to a change in their workplace. Proper change of communication can help team members maintain their usual levels of productivity throughout a time of change. This process helps organisations achieve the following communication goals:

  • Delivering challenging news to team members

  • Keeping regular and timely communication practices

  • Using effective and appropriate mediums of communication, such as email, group messages and in-person conversations

  • Ensuring that the right professionals deliver certain messages to maintain professionalism

Elements of change communication

Here are some of the common elements of this type of communication:

Awareness

Awareness includes ensuring that each employee within the company learns of the change. This element of communication involves professionals sharing information in a clear and timely fashion. In this stage, delivering personal and well-planned communication about the change is essential. This can include ensuring team members hear about the change through the right professionals and mediums. For example, if a manager leaves the company, it's more appropriate and effective for the manager to inform the staff via meetings or a group email.

Understanding

Communicating how the change may affect individual team members and the workplace as a whole is important. This allows professionals to prepare for the change and plan how they can adapt. Be sure to include all the necessary information about the change, including:

  • What: Explain what is changing.

  • Why: Provide reasoning for the change.

  • How: Give details on how you plan to implement the change.

  • When: Share a timeline for the change, and allow team members time to adjust.

Providing this information helps team members understand the change, which allows them to adjust their behaviour and practices. Including all these details helps maintain transparency, which may help other professionals respect you and the change more.

Acceptance

To make the change a success, it's important for team members to accept the change. Acceptance is important for a change of communication strategy and allows team members to adjust to new strategies, practices and cultures. When trying to convince the team that the change is a good idea, you may inform them of the many benefits it can contribute to the new culture, such as being more productive and efficient, or how the decision can benefit everyone involved.

Related: Examples of Communication and Collaboration Skills

Commitment

Commitment is an important element of a change-of-communication strategy. This element involves professionals taking specific actions on their behaviours. Commitment allows team members to adhere to changes like new policies and adapt their behaviours accordingly. For example, you can communicate the element of commitment to your team by stressing the importance of team efforts and adjustment periods, or by thanking them for their commitment during changes.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

How to communicate change

Here are some steps you can follow to communicate changes effectively to your team:

1. Identify your goals

Identifying your goals regarding the communication surrounding the change helps ensure effective communication with other professionals in your workplace. Clearly communicate the vision, mission and objectives of the change management effort. This allows people to understand how these changes may affect them personally, which can help them better adjust and acclimate to their new work environment or duties. Identifying your goals can also help you plan a more effective change management strategy.

Related: Understanding and Overcoming Common Communication Barriers with Examples

2. Create a communication strategy

After you identify the goals of your change of communication, create a strategy for achieving them. Your strategy might include the following:

  • Team members who deliver the message

  • Mediums used to deliver the message, such as emails or meetings

  • When and how often to share this information

Related: Improve Your Nonverbal Communication Skills

3. Train managers

The change management team can train managers and leaders regarding the goals and purpose of the change so that they can communicate it to their team members. Ensure you inform managers how to help team members navigate and adapt to their work environment. For example, if you're implementing a new policy that affects how team members receive performance reviews, you can help team members with the transition by giving detailed descriptions and sharing new criteria of questions to ask in a performance review.

Related: How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace (With Tips)

4. Ask for feedback

After you communicate your announcement, include a question in the message that asks if you've effectively communicated the change. After all the team members have received information about the change, ask them to communicate their thoughts about it through an anonymous email or survey. You can use this feedback for future communication efforts, helping you clarify any unclear statements.

5. Host meetings and workshops

Communicating with many team members at the same time can be a challenge. Hosting meetings and workshops on the importance of change of communication can keep team members informed and comfortable with the change. At these meetings and workshops, make sure you share information about how to adapt to the new culture. This helps people better understand the changes they may encounter and feel their thoughts and feeling are important.

Related: How to Adapt to Change in the Workplace (With Tips)

6. Keep consistent communication

It's essential to keep everyone on your team informed about the ongoing changes and maintain consistent communication methods. Use a consistent company email or website for updating your team on changes, progress and new information. This strategy helps people stay updated and aware of what's happening in their workplace. It also enables you to stay in constant communication with your team members and respond quickly to questions or concerns.

Related: How to Become an Effective Communicator (Plus Tips)

7. Prepare policy updates

Update policies with each change to tailor them to the organisation's needs and goals. This ensures that all team members are clear on the new policies and how they may affect them personally, which can help them better adjust and acclimate to their work environment or duties. For example, if you're implementing a new policy that affects how people receive performance reviews, update the policy to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding their new responsibilities.

8. Review and audit regularly

Review your change management plans and update them as the organisation's situation develops. This can help you adjust for future changes, prevent errors and make sure you're able to communicate effectively with team members. By reviewing your plans regularly, you can determine if there's a need for change management efforts and adjust accordingly.

Related Articles

Examples of Communication and Collaboration Skills

Explore more articles