Humans are natural gossipers. That’s why, seconds after the big organizational change email goes out, the buzz has already begun. You can see it everywhere: Employees chatting in break rooms and coffee stations, and online via instant messaging and email.
Change makes employees anxious; that’s why they’re likely to turn to each other to ask questions, voice concerns or offer opinions. While this buzz is inevitable, you don’t have to sit back and watch it get out of hand. Instead, you can treat this buzz as an opportunity for listening to concerns, addressing issues before they start and providing accurate information as it becomes available.
|1. Identify change champions
Select advocates from across the company to become knowledgeable about the change and share their insights with their colleagues.
|2. Collect questions and provide answers
Set up a system where employees can submit questions/concerns and you can respond to them in a timely manner. (Also, before the change is communicated, you can create an FAQ document to provide to leaders so they can respond to questions in real time.)
|3. Share success stories
Collect examples of how change is working and share with colleagues. The most effective examples are real employees telling their own stories. Use traditional communication channels or seek new ways to share employee experiences.
|4. Organize information sessions
In the change email or afterwards, let employees know about information sessions, open forums for asking questions. Bring someone knowledgeable about the change to facilitate these sessions and hand out question cards for employees who are on the shy side.
|5. Incorporate social media
If your organization has a robust internal social media platform, use it to stimulate discussion by encouraging employees to ask questions. Involve a leader or subject matter expert to provide answers.