What is the first thing you think about when you think “communications plan”? Be honest – isn’t it, “what do the emails I am going to send need to include and to whom am I sending them to?”
Well, you no longer have to think within the email communications box. I would argue that email communications are actually one of the least effective ways to ensure stakeholders are set up for a successful change. Below outlines some ideas to consider when defining your communications plan. Keep in mind that these ideas will depend on the scope of your change.
- Posting “did you know” fliers and reminders in bathroom stalls, by microwaves, and by elevators (essentially where people wait and read) provides a different, “in the moment” mechanism for delivering awareness and reminders
- Table-top drops: Table tents can be effective for organizational cultures where people gather for lunch
- Wearables: Yes, t-shirts and hats can be used to build excitement, create awareness, and grow a following
- Utilizing chat technology: Many organizations now have an internal “chat” system such as slack or MS Teams. This can be a mechanism to deliver key information and allow for productive conversations. Consider including a survey seeking feedback such as:
- I don’t know anything about this change
- I am nervous about this change
- I am excited about this change
- I am a key stakeholder to this change, but have not yet been contacted
- I would like to be informed about this change, but it doesn’t impact me
You could even take it a step further and have fun with word play. Creating a theme for the change encourages attention and drives interest. Below are some fun(ny) ideas targeted to people who are being impacted by the change:
|Change||Tagline||Logo / SWAG Giveaways|
|Implementing a revenue simulation system||“Rev your engines”||Matchbox cars|
|Moving locations||“Pop into the new spot for a day-in-the-life experience”||Microwave popcorn|
|Building out a new help desk / call center||“Building a positive customer experience”||Building Legos|
|Implementing a new process||“Don’t stress, this new process will help you do your job better”||Stress balls|
|New innovative product||“Can we bounce our new ideas off you?”||Bouncy balls|
Below are some ideas targeted toward your change team members designed to create motivation and engagement. Note: these may be operational leaders that you need to be the liaison of the change to their teams.
|Promoting the Change Champion Network||“Change together”||Medals (“champions”)|
|Change Agents||“Super Change Agent”||Superhero (traits mapped in graphic below)|
Another consideration to support increased change adoption is to incentivize people. Don’t you get excited when you think you might get the $5 gift card for coffee when you fill out a survey? I know I do. I’m a sucker for the possibility of getting something, even though I never do. So, what are some ways to incentivize your stakeholders to ensure they are actively engaged in the change adoption efforts?
- As often seen in execution of corporate employee engagement surveys, the first team to fill out the survey wins a “pizza party.”
- Build catch phrases or “hidden messages” into your change communications. Let people know there’s a “WIIFM” to read the communication thoroughly to get the gift card, candy bar, etc. (Note: this also works with status reports for your project team.)
- Create milestone incentives. Work with the team to identify key milestones post-implementation (e.g., adoption metrics) and once end users reach an adoption metric milestone, send a “thank you” to them for participation in the achievement of the milestone. This helps to both reinforce good behavior, reminds people of the positive impact they have on the change by taking action, and encourages/incentivizes others to participate that haven’t yet.
At the end of the day, the best change efforts are those that incorporate creative and fun approaches to the change adoption.