In every organisation change is inevitable. But, the way it’s managed can have a significant impact on the employee experience. Whether it’s ongoing operational change like new staff or processes, or wide-scale transformation, using your intranet for change communication should be a staple in your change comms strategy.
In this blog, we discuss why change communication is important, what good change communication looks like, and 4 ways your intranet can help.
1. Why Does Change Management Matter?
Any change, whatever size, will affect your employees. If you don’t manage these changes with care and attention, then you risk impacting employee productivity, efficiency, and – above all – engagement.
Continuous change can also have mental and physical health implications, otherwise known as change fatigue. 73% of employees affected by change experience moderate to high stress levels, which can lead to a 5% performance drop.
of employees affected by change experience moderate to high stress levels
The main goal of any change management strategy should be to mitigate these risks and support employees through a successful business transformation.
2. Why is Internal Comms at the Heart of Successful Change Management?
Successful change management is impossible without good internal communications. Recognising the critical role of IC teams in change programmes is vital.
This is particularly important during a digital transformation. Clear communication, a well-managed adoption of new technologies and a solid plan for ongoing support is the best way to ensure success. Good change communication will help employees to quickly see the benefits that new digital tools will bring to their daily routines. Without it, uptake and engagement will plummet.
Internal communications teams have the expertise, the reach and the tools to work through all the important phases of communicating change.
3. What are the 4 Key Stages of Change Communication?
For any size of change, your communications should be focused on employee needs and address four phases of change adoption:
Building awareness ahead of change is key to help mitigate employees’ fear and eliminate resistance to change.
Communicating the scope, impact and benefits of a change supports employees’ transition and can help build advocacy from an early stage.
As employees get on board with the imminent change, they will begin to accept it. It’s vital that change communications don’t stop here. This is the best time to gather feedback, keep teams updated with progress and make sure they continue to feel involved with the process.
Even in this final stage, the communication work is not done. In fact, most change initiatives fail at this stage. As a change becomes embedded, IC teams should ensure that change ambassadors are maintained, feedback is gathered, and success is shared.
Just because change leaders are thoroughly familiar with the why, what and how of a change initiative, they should not assume that everyone else knows about it too.
Essentially internal communications teams need to work within and alongside change programmes to ensure the right people are informed, engaged, and listened to.
Consistent messaging, accurate, targeted comms, and a route for employees to be heard and understood is essential. This is where your intranet becomes a powerful tool to support and drive your change communications.
4. Who Needs to be Involved with Change Communication?
In short, everyone. But, specific attention must be paid to the role of those driving the change itself.
Leaders should act as role models. Their personal communications will be far-reaching, and will impact the success (or failure) of any change. Leaders have the unique opportunity to build trust, inspire with vision, and create confidence in change.
The value of leaders’ role in change must not be underestimated.
Communication … contributes the most to a transformation’s success. At companies where senior managers communicate openly and across the organization about the transformation’s progress, respondents are 8.0 times as likely to report a successful transformation as those who say this communication doesn’t happen.
Other essential roles may not be so obvious.
As well as internal communications leaders and specialists, widespread change will require widespread influence. Change champions or ambassadors should be identified early and engaged throughout the change process.
5. How Can my Intranet Help Land Great Change Communications?
Your intranet is your best tool to underpin your change communication programme across every stage of the employee change experience. Here are 4 ways your intranet can help deliver change communications:
Content is everything and you will no doubt create quantities of different assets to communicate the change. Teaser campaigns, emails, graphics, training manuals, podcasts, audio guides… All of it needs to be stored in a way that’s secure, well-documented, and easy to access.
Use your intranet as the home for your change campaign.
It keeps all your campaign assets together and gives employees a single location to find all the information they need. And, if you’re using Microsoft Viva, you can make the same content available in Engage and Connections. Consistent messaging, and reaching employees in different spaces. It’s a win-win!
For larger change initiatives, you might choose to create a standalone change management site as part of your intranet. That’s the approach global beverage giant Asahi took – and it earned them 70% employee reach in the first 30 days.
Your intranet can also help identify change ambassadors. In a hybrid working environment, it would otherwise be challenging to pinpoint who is most engaged with the change. Looking at who is most engaged with your change content and campaigns will help you find your champions. Tools like Viva Insights and Viva Pulse can also help keep a check on company-wide responses to change.
employee reach with a dedicated change management site
Building up employees’ knowledge and understanding of a change is perfectly aligned with your intranet’s purpose. Make it the centre of your communications plan and you can open a world of possibilities for sharing and inspiring across your business.
- Use multimedia content to keep people informed
- Create multi-channel content that sits across your intranet, Teams, Viva Engage and more
- Deliver content through multiple devices to keep both frontline and desk-based workers in the loop
The possibilities for the content you create and host on your intranet are vast.
- Showcase new tools, give updates from leadership and explain new initiatives with video using Stream
- Give employees a space to ask questions with Leadership Corner in Viva Engage
- Run questionnaires or pulse surveys to gather information and feedback
Your intranet is the perfect place for two-way communication. Creating open dialogue with employees throughout your change process is the route to acceptance of change.
- Run pulse surveys at key points in the change process and measure progress towards acceptance
- Use your champions to run forums in Viva Engage and analyse sentiment with Viva Insights
Keeping an area of your intranet dedicated to the change after it has rolled out can help reinforce the understanding and acceptance of new ways of working.
Your intranet will play an important part in new starter induction. Maintaining a timeline of change will help new starters understand the history of the business. It’s easier to understand where you’re going if you know where you’ve been.
Your change programme may lead to new processes or ways of working. Creating training guides that are available to existing and new employees is a great way to keep everyone up to speed. Your intranet is the ideal home for this educational content. And, if you’re using Viva Learning, you can also deliver your training content straight to employees in Teams.
6. What Next?
Your intranet could be the best tool you have at your disposal to facilitate a successful change. If you want to know how it can work best for your business, get in touch now.
Looking for more?
Hear how Asahi manage the relationship between Internal Communications and Change Management in this episode of the Work Happy Podcast.