We’ve decided to switch to a new insurance carrier. Effective immediately, our coverage is through the CS Association. Please read the attached PDF document to learn more about this change.
Jane Smith, VP Human Resources
This is the classic example of one-way communication that happens in many companies. Out of the blue, your employees receive an email announcing a change, like a new insurance carrier or a new technology implementation, and that’s it. There’s no chance to ask questions, no way to easily discuss how to best handle the situation. The message is loud and clear: this is happening, deal with it.
While some policies and changes are not up for debate, they can still be up for discussion. Your employees will be more responsive to any updates if they understand what’s going to be different and why. This is the advantage two-way communication has over one-way communication: it creates a conversation and leads to better understanding. If you want employees to adapt to new policies, give them the chance to participate in making the change.
With employees spread across offices, starting a discussion around a change isn’t as easy as just holding a meeting. Social can help make the switch from one-way communication to actual conversations. Announcements can be signaled in the activity stream where people can then ask questions, offer comments, and receive answers. You still control the way the message is distributed but employees can take an active interest in the announcement, and not just quickly delete it from their inbox.
If you really want to engage employees, give them the chance to participate in the change process. If you’re implementing a new policy, use social to create a document in a workspace, and let employees share their viewpoints and contribute to formalizing the policy. You’ll receive valuable input, new ideas, and your employees will be more active in making the change successful. You’re not relinquishing control; you’re just creating more transparency and opening the door to feedback. The decision is yours, you are just letting your employees fill in some of the details.
Instead of making announcements, start discussions with your employees. You’ll have a better understanding of their viewpoints and they’ll appreciate you offering transparency into the organization.