Appropriate Communication Techniques For Managing Change Initiatives
You are the human resources (HR) project manager for TechWare, a software company based in Seattle, Washington, that serves international organizations in software development and maintenance. TechWare is a publicly traded company, was founded in 2000, and currently employs 650 employees.
Mission: Providing expert services in software development and maintenance to international organizations
Vision: To lead the industry in software development and maintenance for international organizations
Values: The products and services we offer are governed by a set of core values: quality, safe and secure, accessible, consumer-friendly
You receive the following email from the director of HR:
From: Director of HR (HR_Director@techware.com)
To: HR Project Manager (HR_Manager@techware.com)
Subject: Organizational Changes
TechWare recently secured a government contract for $10 million to develop state-of-the-art internet security software. As an integral part of this new contract, the company has plans to obtain ProTech. ProTech is a small information technology (IT) company that specializes in firewall and internet security software. ProTech is a privately owned business founded in 2000 in Manhattan, Kansas, and typically contracts out its 18 remote employees to small businesses across the central United States.
As a result of this acquisition, your company will go through several changes including a name change as well as changes to the marketing and sales departments. Please see the attachment for more information.
The acquisition will take place over the next nine months, which provides our department with sufficient time to inform and prepare stakeholders at various levels of the organization of the changes.
Communication planning occurs prior to these changes. In your role, you are responsible for developing a timeline and strategies to communicate changes to various levels of the organization. HR will have a meeting with TechWare’s board of directors to present your plan for managing change in the organization. For our presentation, please develop a plan for communicating changes to the three levels of the organization and articulate the steps you plan to take to follow and ensure the information is received the way you intended it.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Director of Human Resources
TechWare | Seattle, WA
The board of directors has tasked the HR department with creating a communication plan that it can roll out while the acquisition takes place over the next few months. Specifically, you have been asked to determine the appropriate techniques for communicating and managing changes at TechWare. You will present your communication plan to the TechWare’s board of directors for approval. In your presentation, you have been asked to include rationale for your recommendations and decisions for communicating change at each level of the organization. Use the speaker notes of the presentation to support your plan by describing how you will ensure that the information is clear and accurate.
Message: Each level within the organization wants to know how this change will impact its work and the organization. Consider how much information each level requires to make informed decisions for themselves and the organization during these changes. Determine what information is essential to share with each level of the organization. Consider who needs to know what and why each level of the organization needs to know this information, then develop three to five talking points for communicating with each level of the organization.
Simplicity is key. Avoid jargon and overcomplicating your message when communicating changes.
Balance confidentiality with informing members of the organization when communicating changes. Consider what information is pertinent to stay within the organization.
Platform: You have also been asked to identify appropriate communication platforms that will be used to introduce and reiterate your message to each level of the organization. Include various modes of communication such as meetings, trainings, emails, handouts, memos, websites, and formal and informal interactions.
Timing: Repetition is how people learn and remember. Ideas sink in deeply only after they have been heard many times. The board of directors has asked you to include recommendations for when the change information will roll out to each level of the organization. Determine when you intend to present the message so that the information is digestible and avoids information overload.
Feedback Mechanisms: Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication. What will you do to open the lines of communication between members of the organization and decision makers? During change initiatives, members of the organization seek information and want to feel that their questions and concerns are valued and responded to. In your plan, determine at least two feedback mechanisms that support members of the organization in communicating their questions, concerns, and ideas to decision makers. Unaddressed inconsistencies undermine the credibility of all communication. Consider the following:
What questions might exist at each level of the organization?
What misinterpretations are possible?
How will you prepare managers to answer questions?
What steps can be taken to determine the efficacy of your plan?
What techniques are used to avoid resistance to change?