Everyone, from individual practitioners to multinational corporations, is considering the ramifications of the Brexit vote for the UK to leave the European Union. One thing looks certain – there is a period of change and uncertainty ahead of us. At this time, organisations with robust change management skills will fare best.
We at ILX have long argued that organisations of all sizes and in all sectors must be prepared to change and adapt to respond to external and internal pressures. At the heart of successful change management is communications. It is no good planning carefully for change if the plans are not communicated effectively to all stakeholders, including customers, partners and suppliers, contractors and of course employees.
Most organisations already have all the resources they need in order to be excellent communicators. The middle management layer is a built-in network of change agents and marketing departments can be a rich source of communication support. It is vital to make sure that communications are appropriate in language and format and that they are delivered to the right people at the right time. Line managers and marketing experts can help with that.
Communication is not just about broadcasting information – it should be two-way. The reasons for this are twofold. It is not only vital to know that messages have been received and understood, but also it is equally important to open the channels of communication so that stakeholders can communicate useful ideas and helpful feedback.
Project Management Institute research has found that only a quarter of employees in organisations that fail to engage their employees effectively in change ever fully commit to a specific change, with the remaining three quarters simply accepting or resisting the change, rather than actively embracing it. That is not an option, post Brexit referendum, when stakeholder engagement will be key to maximising the opportunities in a changed world.
For further guidance on getting stakeholder communications right take a look at our free White Paper ‘Securing stakeholder engagement and project management success through better communications’