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Communication: getting it right from the get-go

A recent investigation into the effectiveness of change management projects has uncovered the top three communication strategies most likely to influence the success (or otherwise!) of any program.

The Change and Communication ROI study by Towers Watson collated responses from 651 organisations around the world, 57 per cent of which were located in the Asia Pacific. It found just 55% of change projects are initially successful, and only one in four are successful in the long run.

To give your change project the best chance of sustained success, the report suggests application of these three communication strategies is vital:

1. Engage communication and change management professionals early

The report found companies that are most effective at change management are four and a half times as likely to involve change and internal communication professionals at the earliest stage of planning — when they’re identifying the problem or opportunity.

2. Implement effective communication training of managers

According to the study, the best companies ensure their managers know how to communicateeffectively about change – its benefits, consequences and rationale. Investing in effective training means managers can support employees, demonstrating the courage to hear and share tough feedback during times of change. While nearly every company provides formal communication training to managers this area, only one out of four companies report that their training is effective.

3. Align communication with employee culture

The survey also showed that communication and change management are more effective when grounded in a deep understanding of an organisation’s culture and workforce. Segmenting and understanding employee groups was found to help communication and change professionals create the relevant programs needed to drive the right behaviors and deliver results.

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