While many change management teams know communication is necessary, often they don’t think about communicating until it’s time to announce the change. But communicators know that the planning process needs to begin the second after the change team figures out the details.

Here are three strategies to persuade the change management team to start planning early: 

Use evidence to make your case 

Remind the change management team about initiatives that did not go well because employees didn’t learn about the change early enough and highlight how a strong communication plan can help tame employees’ change anxiety. Find data (from internal surveys and focus groups or industry studies) to support your argument.  

Outline the scope

Many people are not familiar with the steps involved in building an effective communication strategy. Explain the process and timeline required to:

  • Segment your audience: identify groups that will be impacted and capture what each group needs to know and do.
  • Articulate the story: create targeted messages that ensure employees get consistent and tailored information.
  • Get stakeholders on board: ensure leaders and managers understand the change and their communication role.   

Agree on principles

Meet with the change management team to discuss how communication about the change should happen within the company. Explain to the team that these beliefs will shape the communication plan’s key messages, strategies and tactics. Here are a few examples of communication principles:

  • We communicate first to employees who are significantly impacted.
  • Two-way communication is a required communication method.
  • We will explain the rationale behind decisions.
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