For many organizations, email has become the vehicle of choice when communicating big change news. And email is a smart way to quickly disseminate information. But to engage employees, to help them learn about change and to build new beliefs and behaviors, communication needs to involve as well as inform.

Email is often the default when we have big news to communicate. There’s nothing faster, and it’s hard not to leverage technology when you need to reach hundreds or thousands of employees spread across the map. The problem is that these emails are:

  • Impersonal
  • Cautious and vague, to protect the company if the email gets forwarded outside
  • One-way

Ideally, you want to encourage face-to-face dialogue when communicating a major change. So email should be the starting point to stimulate dialogue, not the first and only way change is communicated.

When using email to announce major news, follow these tips:

  • Keep the message simple and brief.
  • Set up town hall meetings or other big gatherings to provide a forum, and/or equip managers and supervisors to meet with employees in small groups to talk more. Describe the communication process in the announcement email.
  • Then focus on your real challenge: getting leaders and managers to have face-to-face conversations with employees as soon as possible, so they can understand what the change means to them
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