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Organizational Change

Communications Strategy

Prepared by
Liz Steblay, Principal Consultant

2014 All rights reserved

Overview of This Summary


This document is a summary of a proposed communication strategy and plan
to support technology initiatives and projects such as...
The implementation of a new enterprise software such as SAP or Oracle
The rollout of a new tool such as a password management system or single-sign-on

The intended audiences for this summary include:


Project Management
Project Team Members

This document is typically supported by detailed communications &


stakeholder management plans.
This strategy focuses on communications designed to support the delivery of
the project to an organization; it does not address the information needs within
the project team itself.
This particular sample strategy does not address the communication needs of
any external stakeholders (e.g. customers or vendors).

Overview of Change Management Components


Effective change strategy is built upon the three pillars of first establishing clarity around
purpose and objectives, then building awareness and buy-in throughout the organization,
and finally making sure that the organization has the ability to implement and sustain the
change.

Clarity
Change
Vision
Change
Change
Strategy
Leadership

Commitment

Capability
Organizational
Alignment
Go-Live Prep &
User Education
Support
& Training
Project Team
Performance

Monitor results, adjust as needed


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Communications

Commitment

Effective change communication includes:

An overall strategy that pulls people along the change


curve (i.e. gives people the information they need just
before they realize they need or want it)
Coordination across geographies of content and timing
An effective mix of mediums
Repetition of key messages over time and across mediums
Targeted messages to particular groups to address their specific concerns based
on audience segmentation
Using direct supervisors where possible to convey project details and address
concerns
A way to gather input, concerns and feedback from the organization

Questions:

What are the two most effective ways that we currently communicate to end users?

What have stakeholders heard about the project or change so far?

How can we ensure that everyone is on the same page?


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Change Strategy
Effective organizational change strategy is based on setting expectations correctly and
successfully managing stakeholder perceptions throughout the project lifecycle. Given
human dynamics, it is important to establish awareness and clarity about the project months
in advance of go-live and then to build commitment to the program as go-live draws nearer.
The overall goal is to have all stakeholders fully bought into the program in time for
go-live so they are ready, willing and able to adapt to the new environment.

1. Clarity

Introduction Basic information about the program to bring everyone


up to speed (whats in scope, why, when, where, who)

2. Commitment

Key Changes Key terms and concepts as well as what will change
and who will be affected (set and manage expectations)

3. Capability

Go Live Prep Information about new processes and systems,


policies and procedures; education & training, how to prepare

4. Sustainment

Support & Benefits Realization Tools necessary to sustain change;


where to go for support; how change will be managed moving forward,
tracking benefits, remedial training (if necessary)

Objectives Through the Project Lifecycle


All stakeholders and end-users should be pulled along the change curve. The idea is to
be one step ahead, giving them information just before they knew they wanted it. This
proactive approach builds acceptance and confidence for the new system & processes.
Change Strategy Objectives
Commitment

Capability

Sustainment

Acceptance

Hands-on

Mental tryout

Self-concern

Awareness

Go-Live

Stakeholder Perceptions

Clarity

Project Lifecycle

Communication & Change


Key Principles
Effective communication is the single most
important tool for facilitating organizational
change.

Change without effective


communications can result
in:

Stakeholder acceptance and buy-in cannot


happen without effective communication.

Increased grapevine
activity and the spread of
misinformation low
morale

Communication is not a single step or


component of change it must be fully
integrated with project management.
Communication is not something that is done to
a target audience; effective communication
includes two-way dialogue and an alignment of
interests. (This is where communications
dovetails with stakeholder engagement
activities.)

Higher than expected


resistance to change
lack of system use
Confusion resulting from
change in the work
process and fear of the
unknown low
productivity

Strategically planning for effective


communication entails more than sending out
e-mails or holding a meeting.
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Basic Communications Strategy


Communicate via managers/supervisors as well as directly to end users
Communication has the best chance of changing behavior if it comes from the most desired
and trusted source: the immediate supervisor
However, do not rely on communication trickling down through middle management; changes
should be communicated directly to the end users as well as to their managers

Target influential people and/or end users have them become change agents
or early adopters in the field
Get buy-in of key people in each organization (Sales, Finance, Manufacturing, HR) so they
can help lead the change
Note for Sales organizations: Salespeople are competitive by nature; they will likely copy
whatever the most successful people are doing

Establish two-way communication so employees know that their involvement is


important and valued; this creates buy-in and support
Solicit their input whenever feasible
Establish a way for them to submit questions and provide feedback

Fulfill the informational needs of the various stakeholders and end users by
pulling them along the change curve.
Strategically build the end users awareness and acceptance of the project
Satisfy peoples curiosity to know whats in it for me (WIIFM)
Manage peoples expectations!
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Communication Objectives to Facilitate Change


1

Create awareness and understanding of the project (who,


what, where, when & why) among all stakeholders

Align with the companys overall corporate strategy


and fiscal year objectives as much as possible

Create understanding of how the project ties to


other relevant initiatives (connect the dots)

Ensure that all stakeholders understand key


changes and whats in it for me

Create positive energy and support for the project


while managing expectations appropriately

Establish a desire and an urgency within the


organization for the new & improved way of working

Overall Approach to Change Communications


1. Stakeholder Analysis

Strategic
Realignment
As Needed

3. Implement Plan &


Monitor Effectiveness
Multi-channel & reinforced
Authored by influencers
Feedback loop

Identify relevant stakeholders


Understand context & culture
Identify issues & questions
Segment into groups
Uncover resistance or barriers

Communication that is
proactive, strategic and
stakeholder-driven
accelerates and increases
the likelihood of a
successful change effort.

Proactive
Message
Creation

2. Targeted Strategy
Audience focused
Clear objectives
Key messages based on
stakeholder analysis
Identified channels & timing

Defined
Process

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Audience Identification & Segmentation


Project Sponsors and Project Steering Teams
Executive sponsorship is critical for any project. Projects that impact non-I.T.
people need clear sponsorship from business leaders

Executive Staff
Create communications to address key areas of concern to ensure their full
support.

Functional Directors / Department Managers


Communications that focus on helping managers understand and support
the impending change is crucial for ensuring a successful implementation.

Change Agents / Influencers


Success will depend on having respected early adopters throughout all
geographies and aspects of the business.

End Users
People who will be impacted by the new policies and solutions as part of
their daily jobs need to be prepared and on-board prior to go-live.

Segmenting stakeholder
audiences will facilitate the
organizational change process
by:
Ensuring active support and
change leadership from the
appropriate senior management
Increasing business involvement
(i.e. not just I.T.)
Engaging critical management
stakeholders
Targeting relevant key
messages to different groups
Maximizing buy-in and
ownership prior to go-live!

External Stakeholders (if applicable)


Its important to realize if any vendors, customers, or partners will be
impacted. (For example, people who will need relevant reports/audits,
customers who get status or conduct business via the web, etc.) These
external stakeholders may also need to be kept in the loop and prepared for
any changes.
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Delivery Mechanisms / Channels


Effective Mediums - Best Practice
Effective change communications tend to be more resource intensive and are characterized
by a high degree of interaction. The greater the change, the greater the need for in person
communications.

1 to 1
meetings

Try to use as much


as possible

Dept. / Staff
meetings
Change
complexity

Roundtables &
workshops
Executive
briefings

Try to use only to create


general awareness

E-Mail
messages
Intranet
Newsletters

Noticeboards
Audience coverage
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Commitment

Communications vs. Engagement


Key Principle of Change Communications
Communication should not be done to a target audience;
effective communication includes two-way dialogue and an alignment of interests.
(This is where communications dovetails with stakeholder engagement activities.)
Communications are things that are published, spoken or sent primarily passive,
unidirectional messaging
Engagement activities are dynamic interactions between two or more people
Both are needed for effective change management!
Communication Activities

Engagement Activities

Emails
Videos
Newsletters
Handouts
Intranet postings
Posters and flyers
Voicemail messages
Bulletin board postings
Large-scale conference calls
(e.g. quarterly meetings)
Presentation materials

Meetings and working sessions


Q&A sessions
Interviews & focus groups
Town-hall meetings
Phone conversations
Lunch & Learn events
Small-scale conference calls or
virtual meetings
Unscheduled office drop-bys
Informal hallway conversations
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High Level Communications & Engagement Strategy


Change Strategy Objectives
Clarity

Commitment

Tier 1
Engage 1:1 Engage 1:1 to Communicate Engage in
Stakeholders
to validate
vet solutions,
progress
issue
project
timeline and Engage 1:1 or in resolution,
Senior
scope,
costs
small meeting
removal of
Leaders
regarding risks
obstacles
Key Decision business
case and
and issues
Makers
priority
Tier 2
Stakeholders
Project Team
Project
Contributors
Extended
Team
Members

Provide project Engage in


On-board
updates
testing
project team
members (e.g. Engage in
gathering
project kick
off); ensure
requirements
understanding
of purpose
and scope

Tier 3
Stakeholders
Change
Recipients
Tangential
stakeholders

Create project Provide more


details about
awareness
what will be
(what it is,
why,
changing and
why
approximate
timing, etc.)

Show sample
reports, walk
through
process
changes, demo
functionality
and/or share
screen shots

Capability

Sustainment

Discuss business Provide updates on


readiness plans,
adoption and
ask for support
success metrics
(value realization)

Assist with
business
readiness
activities
Share success
metrics

Publicly
acknowledge and
thank team and
contributors
Celebrate success

Provide guidance Share tips,


communicate wins
on why/how to
to build momentum
adopt changes
Engage in training on successes
Engage in feedback
Distribute
and improvement
reference
efforts
materials
How to get help
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Timing of Key Messages


Change Strategy Objectives

Clarity
Prerequisites
Clarify objectives,
purpose of the project
Clarify framing (a
separate initiative or part
of something else?)
Communicate the
business case
Why do we need this?
What will change? What
will stay the same?
What are the major
benefits?
What will we lose (if
anything)?
Explain scope and
timing
What is the timeline?
Who is involved?
(sponsors, key project
leaders)

Commitment
Clarify scope and timing
What is happening now?
Who will be impacted?
(by geography and/or by
function)
Early Adopters / Change
Agents
Segment audience
groups
Gather input, understand
perceptions
Clarify impact
Highlight whats in it for
me? (WIIFM)
How will this impact daily
routines?
Target key messages to
audience needs
Host info sessions to
explain key changes,
facilitate Q&A

Capability
Enable Feedback Loop
Foster 2-way communication
(e.g. an e-mail address or via
change agents)
Periodic Updates
Explain progress to date,
including any changes in
timeline, scope and/or
approach
Continuously manage
expectations; build support
Publish case studies if
applicable
Publish results of testing or
pilot program

Sustainment
Go-Live Announcement
Inform all employees of
new process, tools
Recognize project team
Reiterate how to get help
Periodic Updates
Share tips across regions
Publicize wins (e.g.
usage statistics, success
stories)
Recognize & reward
Whats next?

Preparation for Go-Live


Hold training / workshops
Encourage hands-on practice
if applicable
Distribute quick reference
guides and/or survival
guides
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Sample Communications & Change Plan


Communication Plan Sample
ERP Phase II Upgrade
Notes:
This plan does not outline all Org. & Change Management activities only those related to Communications, Training, or
Stakeholder Management (building buy-in).
This plan is arranged chronologically.
This plan is a working document, managed and used by Liz Steblay (i.e. expect things to change some)
Legend for Objective Column (applicable to end users): Aw = Awareness, Ac = Acceptance, O = Ownership, S = Sustaining
Ref.
#
1

Item
Official project
announcement

Managers Info
Comm.

Objective
Target
Audience(s) AwAcOS

Specific Objectives /
Key Messages

X X
Dept.
managers of
ERP
transactional
users (or all?)

1. e-mail,
2. and hardcopy

ERP All Hands Transactional X X


user meeting
users

Cut-over plan e- ERP users and X X \


mail
stakeholders
(dl-ERP)
The project
team

ERP end users


(dl-ERP)

Were live!

ERP users and


stakeholders
(dl-ERP)

Notes

Cutover Tip
Sheet

Timing

st
1. e-mail to dl- Mike P
Early April (1
(Stephanie) week ideally,
ERP

2. 3. Same info
but no later
th
+ more to
than the 14 .)
dept. mgrs.

Spokesperson /
Author

Reasons for upgrade / objectives


WIIFM (benefits to users)
Approach, timeline (what weve
done so far, whats coming up)
FAQs
Who to contact w/ questions

ERP users and X


stakeholders
(dl-ERP)

Medium
st
nd
(1 , 2 )

X X

Overview of upcoming events and


timing (e.g. ERP All Hands meeting,
cut-over, etc.)
What they need to do (e.g.
encourage their people to participate)
What this means for the employees
in their department
(Include info from #4 below too)
Review cut-over plan and timing
Get buy-in; solidify/confirm user
validators
Details of cut-over plan from end
users point of view (keep it simple!)
Be sure to hi-light minimum
disruption to end user
Who to contact w/ questions/issues

Mike P.
By April 21
(Stephanie) (about a week
before the
ERP All Hands
meeting)

1. Open
Mike P,
meeting (w/ Siva
beer?)
1. e-mail to dl- Siva
ERP
2. Hard copy to
be extra
sure?

Heres what you need to do before 1. Hard copy Siva


2. email
Day 1 and on Day 1
Who to contact with issues/concerns
/questions
Cut-over successful; Any issues to 1. e-mail to dl- Mike and
ERP
Siva
report (were aware of ___ and
working on it)
Congratulations to the team
Who to contact for help

Last week of
April (by April
28)
A day or two
after the ERP
All Hands

meeting

Cover: What Why When Who Where.


WIIFM = Whats In It For Me
Do we need anything from the end
user, i.e. confirming their access or
usage?
Idea: If it comes from the whole
S.Team, it will up their commitment /
involvement.

A graphical timeline or calendar


would be helpful

Be sure to invite the project team

Only mention the things that affect the


end user (things that they will see or
that will affect them)
Dear ERP User, Cutover to our new
system is just 3 weeks away heres
what you need to do to get ready.

Monday before
cut-over (May
15)
Monday, May

22

Include names of team if practical


Include info on how to submit a
problem request form if appropriate

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Summary

Commitment

Effective change communication includes:

An overall strategy that pulls people along the change curve (i.e. gives people the
information they need just before they realize they need or want it)

Coordination across geographies of content and timing

An effective mix of mediums

Repetition of key messages over time and across mediums

Targeted messages to particular groups to address their specific concerns based


on audience segmentation

Using direct supervisors where possible to convey project details and address
concerns

A way to gather input, concerns and feedback from the organization remember to
create opportunities to get people engaged!

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