You have a change manager, so what can go wrong? A lot of!

It all sounds so simple. Find a change manager for your change process and it will be a guaranteed success. What can still go wrong with a dedicated person who makes a step-by-step plan? And who watches over every step of the implementation of the new strategy, digital transformation, energy transition, company takeover and more? Unfortunately, the answer is: a lot.

You see them everywhere: vacancies for change managers. Almost every company is looking for someone to get started with change processes. Whether it is digital transformation or a new strategy. And that makes sense, the world is changing faster than ever. Companies must continuously adapt to stay ahead of the competition. And for that you not only need innovative ideas, but also people who know how to implement the ideas successfully.

So change managers.

What is often forgotten, change management and change communication are 2 different things. And we should not underestimate the latter.

A change manager is mainly responsible for managing the change itself. Monitoring deadlines and budget, technical conditions, stakeholder management and more. But in most cases a change manager is not a communication specialist. And that is why an important step is often overlooked, the communication of the change process to your own employees.

Changemanager versus changecommunicator

Your change process can still be innovative and important for the company. If you don’t get your own employees along, it can’t be a success. They will have to deal with this on a daily basis. So they have to adjust their behavior in one way or another. And of course they don’t just do that.

Only if you manage to reach them at the right time via the right channel and with the right message, you have a chance of a behavioral change. Even with the best change manager in the world, you will not be able to successfully implement a change process without some form of internal communication.

Also a change communication specialist

That is why hiring a change manager does not equate to a successful change process. In fact, every change manager should also employ a change communication specialist. A person who is responsible for mapping the internal target group(s), creating an internal communication plan and executing it.

To ensure that the change manager can focus on the steps involved in the implementation of the process itself. And to make the change process successful after all.

Measure the success of your internal communication campaign

And then there is another important reason not only to look for a change manager, but also someone who can focus on the internal communication surrounding the change process. Have you ever thought about how you want to measure whether your message about this important change actually reaches the right employees?

The change manager may be able to prove that all deliverables of the integration have been achieved. But can the person who posted a message on the intranet or sent an email to all employees do the same? Mostly not. A change communication specialist can do that. Through:

  • set clear goals
  • segment audiences
  • to communicate (and measure) in a targeted manner

With the right data you can actually demonstrate whether the message about the change process actually reaches the target group. Very important, also for the performance of your new change manager.

Of course, it is not feasible to also place one for a change communication specialist for every change manager vacancy. Or an internal communications manager. After all, we already have a surplus of vacancies and too few people to fill them. It is still crucial to give the necessary attention to internal communication during a change process. But how do you do that?

Make internal communication of change processes a priority

A change process can only be successfully communicated internally if you make internal communication a priority within the company. It is quite a job to put together an effective internal communication campaign.

Coming up with a strategy at the last minute? Then you often end up with such an e-mail to all employees or a message on the intranet. And of course we don’t want that anymore.

Therefore, plan the necessary preparation time for the communication process surrounding the change process. That way you can talk to your internal target groups, the employees, well in advance. And you can find out how they view the change process and what they already know or don’t know about it.

An appropriate internal communication plan

As soon as you know the information needs of your target group, you can make a suitable internal communication plan around the change process.

  • What information does your target audience need at what time?
  • What’s the best way to reach them?

Do not forget to make the change process relevant for the target group. By starting with the reasons for the change process and the benefits for your target group, you trigger their intrinsic motivation to actively participate in making the change process a success. And that is of course exactly what you want to achieve!


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