Article from Heritage Bank of Nevada's Business News ()
December 17, 2018
Effectively Communicating Business Changes with Your Team
Ways to keep employees in the loop without ruffling feathers

Change is often necessary in business, but it could be a scary prospect to your team. How you choose to communicate change to them could be the difference between a smooth transition and a bumpy future. Before breaking any big news, collect yourself and make sure youíre ready for what lies ahead.

Be clear

This should go without saying, but when you tell your employees about an adjustment, you should do so clearly. Susan M. Heathfield of The Balance stresses that clarity is key to making sure no one misunderstands your message. Besides just stating the change itself, you should also consider communicating the research behind the change and goals of it. This way, the team knows that, while it might be difficult, the adjustment serves business objectives and ultimate group success. If you donít relay why youíre making a change, Heathfield warns that your staff will probably fill in the blanks with their own stories, which tend to be negative.

Explain measurement

Big changes in your business should drive it toward bigger and better accomplishments. When you tell your team about modification, Carol Kinsey Gorman of Forbes suggests laying out how you will be measuring success. Achieving your benchmarks ó whether theyíre increased profits, better client retention or better time useó lets you and your staff know that their hard work has done what itís supposed to. On the flip side, outlining what you consider a win following this change helps employees track their personal performance to make sure theyíre on the right path.

Give them resources

Once you tell your team whatís coming, itís essential to give them the tools needed to accomplish your new goals. As a leader, that means gauging what each change needs before you roll it out, according to Elsbeth Johnson with the Harvard Business Review. For example, if your change is a move to a new facility, you should designate senior team members to organize the process, provide boxes to pack supplies and relay a time frame for the move to take place. You can clearly tell your team that youíre moving and say youíll consider it successful when the old space is empty, but if you give them no tools, youíre setting them up for failure.

Answer questions

Even if youíre the one in charge, communication should always be a two-way street when it comes to change. Heathfield cautions that when you unveil new things to your team, it should feel less like a presentation and more like a conversation. While that could lead to difficult questions, your planning should prepare you to answer them. Above all, avoid getting defensive or making excuses, as this can frustrate your staff. If you give thoughtful answers, they are more likely to respect your decisions.

In addition to answering questions when you unveil a major change, make sure you provide a way for your team to give feedback and get clarification after the meeting. Heathfield recommends providing easy channels, like open office hours or email, so your team feels more involved in whatís happening and you can soothe any negative conceptions as quickly as possible. 

Change isnít always easy, but communicating it properly to your team is a step in the right direction.

Published by Heritage Bank of Nevada
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