3 ways to engage employees in change communication.

When it comes to change, employees want to be able to quickly understand what’s happening and why. Most importantly, employees want to know what the change means for them.

I was thinking about this challenge and realized Petco recently communicated about a change very well. As I was food shopping for my beloved cats, Sudan and Rafiki, the communicator in me was captivated by the messaging splashed on Petco’s doors to promote its latest campaign. 

If you’re a pet parent, you may be familiar with Petco’s marketing campaign, “Bye-bye bad stuff.” The store made changes to its nutrition standards and is no longer selling dog and cat food made with artificial ingredients.

The company’s campaign messaging follows communication best practices. Not only is it compelling, it’s effective, because it clearly tells you what has changed and why—in a way all customers can understand.

To ensure your change communication resonates with employees, apply these three principles:

1. Keep messaging simple and consistent

Restating key messages in ways audiences can clearly understand is a great way to reinforce the change. Customers knew about Petco’s change because the company displayed key messages around its change initiative online and in store using simple language like:

  • “Bye-bye bad stuff”
  • “No more nasties”
  • “All dog and cat food: now artificial free”

Apply it
Develop a set of key messages to communicate the change. Key messages help you focus on the right topics and narrow down content. To clearly communicate your main points, make your content simple and conversational. Do this by replacing corporate jargon with common words and helpful examples.


2. Organize information so it’s easy to find
The last thing employees want to do is hunt for information during a change. Customers quickly discovered Petco’s change when searching for a product online because of a pop-up message explaining the company’s new terms. This pop-up was not only convenient, but also helpful because Petco linked to brands and products that meet the new standards, so customers can make an informed decision on the food they purchase for their fur babies.

Apply it
Make your communication easy to find, but also helpful for employees. After you communicate the change face to face, make sure you share your key messages across core communication channels. For example, use workplace signage in high-traffic areas (near an elevator or cafeteria) to bring the messages to employees. Include a call to action for employees to go to the intranet for more information.


3. Be specific
Employees want messaging that’s specific and easy to understand. Petco’s website clearly states why it made a change, but the site also encourages customers to learn more about the change in food it carries by listing all of the artificial ingredients the company eliminated from its shelves.

Apply it
When creating content about your change, make it tangible for employees. Be as specific as you can be so employees can understand the details. To help you break it down, answer these questions:

  • What is the change?
  • Why did we decide to do this?
  • Why is it important?
  • How will this affect our employees?


Apply these three best practices to your next change initiative’s messaging and I guarantee your employees will be more engaged.

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