12 Internal Communications Tips to Speed the Adoption of Change


Internal communications is critical to successful change management processes. Here are 12 tips to help speed the adoption of change by employees.

  1. Focus on communications that involve, not just inform. Include employees in activities such as focus groups, surveys, Q&As and ongoing discussions. Use internal social media platforms, hotlines, etc.
  2. Personalize change. Show the relevancy to individual jobs.
  3. Use vivid storytelling techniques to paint a picture of the vision. Stories can be more powerful than data. Use metaphors, analogies and examples. Employees are more apt to take the journey if they know where they are going.
  4. Use living examples to model attitudes and behaviors the organization is trying to create. Be specific about what you want employees to do. Create a list of behaviors to stop doing, start doing and continue doing.
  5. It’s more important to change hearts than to change minds. Use storytelling, compelling posters, dramatic videos and other communication techniques that evoke an emotional response.
  6. Cut the clutter from communication channels so that competing voices don’t drown out important change messages.
  7. Minimize uncertainty. Get out in front of rumors.
  8. Respect the intellect of employees. Address areas of anxiety, anger and mistrust.
  9. Respect the past. A transformation is needed because the situation has changed. The old ways of doing things probably were the right way to do things in their time. Build upon the past to create the future.
  10. Celebrate successes along the way to model behavior and keep momentum going.
  11. Recognize employees who embrace the change. Motivate these “Cultural Warriors” to continue helping to make  change happen.
  12. Use “evergreen” communications such as progress charts, checklist updates, etc. Communicate for the long haul. Don’t let up too soon.

Have any tips to add for successful change? What has worked well for your organization?



about 8 years ago

I love points 7 through 9 -- I think those are most often left unaddressed during times of organizational change. In the minds of a lot of employees, change = layoffs. If you can address that fear first, with complete honesty, you'll head off a lot of problem behaviors and attitudes created by the uncertainty. And when you're introducing change into an organization that is loved by its employees, do whatever you can to preserve the love, and let employees know that's your goal. It shows respect.

Paul Barton

about 8 years ago

Couldn't agree more Lawri! I often use the word "transformation" because it implies that the change that is occurring is a natural progression and necessary to meet the needs of the future. It's more respectful of the past and the people who helped build the organization.

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