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Communication Plan

Before starting to develop any form of strategy for improvement it is important to know where
you are now or your starting point. The use of organizational diagnostics in the form of an audit
is a useful place to start. This audit should be company wide and differentiate divisions and
levels. Identifying blockages are important. The audit should help answer a number of important
questions including:

What are the goals, ambitions and it strategic aspirations for the future?

What do the people in the organization need to think, feel and do in order to make those
goals a reality?

Where are employees now, and what needs to change in their current perceptions,
attitudes, or access to basic information?

Whats the role of the internal communication function in helping close the gap of what
we want for the future, and what weve got today?

What are the roles and responsibilities of leaders, managers, employees and
communication professionals?

What tools and communications channels will be used and why?

First of all, using the preferred senders to deliver communications in an organization is vital.
Research shows that employees prefer to hear messages from two people in the organization;
The person at the top of the change about the business issues and reasons for change and their
immediate supervisors about the personal impact of the change.
Second, certain questions such as why is this change happening and what is the risk of not
changing must be answered. When individuals learn of a change, their first question is, "Why is
this happening. Senior leaders tend to focus on the vision of the future state, and project teams
tend to focus on sharing their great new idea. However, the first communications about a change
should focus on why the change is happening. Another question that has to be answered is, what
is in it for me?. Making a change is a personal choice, no matter what senior leaders believe.
Communications about change must resonate. To be effective, communications must get at what
an employee cares about and values. To gain their support, you must provide a compelling case
for how they will be better off or what they get out of engaging in the change.
Furthermore, resisting the urge to communicate through the project team is a key element.
Employees prefer to hear messages from two people in the organization, and neither is the
project leader. One of the biggest and most common mistakes that can be made is to have a
project team sending all of the communications.

Using face to face communication is another effective communication strategy. Face-to-face

communication was identified as the most effective form of communication. While it is more
time intensive, the value that face to face communication creates should not be underestimated.

Last but not least, assessment tools to evaluate the effectiveness of communication messages
should be used. Communications cannot be viewed as an activity that is planned, delivered and
then checked off the list of work to be done. Find ways to ensure that employees are hearing and
interpreting the messages you are trying to send. Assessment tools will help identify when
communication hasnt been done effectively, or when the message is being misinterpreted, so
correctioning and refinining your communications can be done.

Coaching/Training Plan
Coaching through a program of change satisfies several objectives. It can, of course be used to
communicate the need for change, and to train people in new processes and procedures. The
biggest benefit to change management, though, is the effectiveness of targeted coaching in
managing and eliminating resistance to change.
The change management program must first be delivered to project sponsors and managers. This
coaching is often executed by external specialists who have been employed to aid the change
project through to completion. Important deliverables here will include identifying the
supervisors role in change management, providing guidance on manager/ employee
communications, providing guidance on group coaching, effective one-to-one coaching, setting
expectations and developing timetables and schedules for coaching through change programs.
Secondly, group coaching events should be developed. Having been coached themselves,
managers and supervisors should meet to develop plans for group coaching events, ensuring that
key messages are communicated effectively. Feedback should be actively sought, with group
training periods used to break down resistance to change with open discussion and exchange of
information. They can also be used to spot key influencers who will help to grow positive
support for the change initiative.
Coaching for individuals should also be developed. One-to-one sessions will be needed by
employees with specific tasks or issues. These can be tailored to individual concerns
as well as best-fit coaching. They help with tackling highly resistant employees by
addressing their concerns individually and reinforcing self-interests of change. When

developing one-to-one coaching sessions, the manager will need to consider direct effects of
cultural change on the employee, where they are on the change progress curve, and to what

method of coaching the individual best reacts. It is then possible to help employees move more
quickly through to full acceptance of the change.

Resistance to change
Resistance to change is the action taken by individuals and groups when they perceive that
a change that is occurring as a threat to them. Key words here are 'perceive' and 'threat'. The
threat need not be real or large for resistance to occur.
First step is to identify the type of resistance to change occurring. Types such as self interest;
concerns with how changes will affect their own interest instead of considering the success of the
business, low tolerance of change; certain people are very keen on stability and security in their
work, misunderstanding; communication problems due to inadequate communication, different
assessments of the situation; disagreements for the reason of change
One of the best ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about the change
effort beforehand. Up-front communication and education helps employees see the logic in the
change effort. This reduces unfounded and incorrect rumors concerning the effects of change in
the organization.
Apart from that, when employees are involved in the change effort they are more likely to buy
into change rather than resist it. This approach is likely to lower resistance more so than merely
hoping people will acquiesce to change.
Furthermore, managers can head-off potential resistance by being supportive of employees
during difficult times. Managerial support helps employees deal with fear and anxiety during a
transition period. This approach is concerned with provision of special training, counseling, time
off work.
Managers can also combat resistance by offering incentives to employees not to resist change.
This can be done by allowing change resistors to veto elements of change that are threatening, or
change resistors can be offered incentives to go elsewhere in the company in order to avoid
having to experience the change effort. This approach will be appropriate where those resisting
change are in a position of power.
Last but not least, managers can explicitly or implicitly force employees into accepting change
by making clear that resisting change can lead to losing jobs, firing, or not promoting employees.