Important changes at an organization come with so many moving parts that communications can be an after-thought when it really should be the primary focus. Who needs to know what’s going on? And just as important, how and when should they find out?
From hiring new senior executives, to shifting the company structure, to rolling out a new brand — these are all important changes that require a smart communications strategy that respects relationships and ensures transparency.
I’ve talked before about the overwhelming desire of companies to get media coverage and that often comes along with some of these big corporate changes. The problem with that focus is that key stakeholders can easily be left out. Your primary investor shouldn’t find out about a new executive team member from a press release or a snippet on the evening news.
Change communications should involve a comprehensive work-back plan.
Let’s look at the example of an important new executive team member. If you decide to incorporate a public announcement (blog, news release, social post), consider having it ready to go during their first week on the job. Now prior to that release, who needs to know about this person joining your team? Employees? Investors? How should they find out? Some people may need a personal phone call from a key employee, while other stakeholders can serve with an email from the President.
Try making a basic chart.
Date. Audience. Method of outreach. Key message.
Keep it simple and focused. While this may feel daunting and one more thing on the pile when you’re dealing with complicated changes, taking the time to put together a smart communications strategy to support the change at your organization will strengthen relationships and protect your brand.