In this month’s issue: Winning over unique audiences
Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in culture, mind-sets and working practices. The Afiniti newsletter draws on the latest experiences of the team in delivering change in large organisations. For more change management articles and resources, you can follow our company page on LinkedIn.
How can we meet the needs of specific audiences during change?
It’s a real challenge to reach out to people and address their specific concerns. Yet the success of a project relies on different teams and unique individuals all adopting new things. The way you communicate with and train people has got to be appropriate for them.
In today’s complex organisations, we can’t lose sight of what’s important to individuals and different teams, if we want them to change.
Some common challenges – Employees don’t come in a one size fits all shape. Whether your teams are scientists, teachers, cabin crew, they will have different beliefs, ways of working and cultures.
Culture Clash – Many organisations have struggled with using communications, training and collaboration tools which don’t fit existing culture and working practices.
For example, the success of a Yammer roll out can hinge, in part, on how people communicate and collaborate up to that point. Teams often successfully use this tool when they have phones on their job and no computers – cabin crews have made good use of it, as have project management teams.
Other teams who rely on email and do not use social media or any other online collaboration tool need communication and training that fits their existing way of working. Using existing tools to introduce new methods makes sense here.
How change management supports delivery to teams
Discover your teams – During a readiness assessment we ask some key questions about audience ‘need’ to uncover the best approach to delivering change. Some questions to ask yourself, when delivering change, are:
- Do we understand the cultural strengths and barriers that exist on the teams to adopting this change?
- Do we know all the common working scenarios that teams will face that will be affected or improved by the changes?
- Do we really know all the tools and processes these teams are currently using to do their job?
- And crucially – do we know what they see as their goal in doing their job, do we know what’s important to them?
Finding the right voice – Try to articulate the change in the way that makes sense to your teams.
For instance, we had an audience of scientists recently. They were more persuaded by a data driven approach and unadorned facts. After thoroughly researching the different teams involved, we used a series of tailored infographics to convey how change would make it easier to do their jobs efficiently and give the outcomes they really cared about – in this case the health of the patients on their trials. We had uncovered that using any softer marketing language with more of an emotive feel would not have been received with the same regard. Factual language was the way forward.
In contrast, when we worked with Rail workers during a time of great change for the railways, they valued the story of the railway and its history. This meant we co-created a more narrative approach with the team, where videos of hand drawn illustrations were part of a brand identity for change, which incorporated how people felt about their railway and it’s tremendous heritage.
Whatever your tone of messaging it must always create a line of sight which provides a relevant discourse at every level – The big picture (the vision and the future shared goal) – the team implications (ways of working and benefits) and the ‘What’s In It For Me’ (the impact on the individual).
Learning for the Real World – As with communication strategy, with learning delivery, we find that there are opportunities to make learning relevant and tailored for people. Templates and resources can form part of toolkits, for managers, that can be tailored to their function. Scenario Based Learning keeps the learning relevant and task focused for teams. Using the discovery work mentioned above to identify common work scenarios you can tailor learning.
Line manager knowledge – Speaking to these managers will help identify quick productivity wins and useful tricks introduced by new process and technology – all with heightened relevance to the manager’s team. Technology such as Office 365 comes with incremental improvements regularly updated by Microsoft. It falls to those doing the communication to let teams know about new releases that could represent a real coup for how they work. Working closely with line managers means you know their world and can spot quick wins more easily that will benefit their specific team.
Finally – reward individuals and teams, highlighting where they’ve used the new tech or process well in a real-life way. We’ve seen teams use new collaborative software to solve a specific issue their team faces and it’s given management the chance to use the platform to praise results.
Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment
Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide
Here’s how to make the most out of this team during change.
A communications strategy to get your project heard
Three effective ideas that will help your communications strategy get your project heard across a busy change environment.
Afiniti regularly blogs on the topic of change management with practical tips for benefits realisation and delivering change with a people focus. Subscribe below to receive content: