Communication does not lead to change

Communication. It’s the instrument organisations rely on for change. But it doesn’t seem to be enough. Because employees are still struggling to understand and failing to adapt to the new way of working. And that’s where the problem lies.

Big efforts. Minor improvements.

There’s something you should know about services that are groaning under the weight of a huge workload: they are usually struggling with dissatisfied clients too. If it’s no longer possible to cope with the pressure; changes must be made. Now!

So, the organisation puts a project team together, calls on consultants and sets ambitious goals for improvement. The team dives into the analysis phase and surfaces at the end of the creative phase with conclusions and recommendations. Management greenlights the quick wins and budget-friendly initiatives.

The communication machine starts up: eye-catching posters, spectacular PowerPoint presentations and updated processes circulate via presentations and campaigns, company newsletters, intranet, team meetings, etc. So far, so good.

And when the communication round is over, it’s down to the employees. They need to go out and put it all into practice. Every employee goes through a carefully planned training programme. And they’re given the new work instructions.

What does a change programme like this actually deliver in the end? Well, usually, no more than a few incremental improvements. Ones the client will have difficulty recognising.

Less than a year later, the organisation will confirm that it’s once more struggling with excessive work pressure, demotivated employees and clients who have abandoned any thoughts of loyalty. Despite all that effort!

Visible result, together with motivated employees

Are you striving for ‘major improvement’? Well, that requires ‘major changes’.

Make the most of the expertise of your employees on the work floor. They know where the gaps in the current work methods are better than anyone else.

Work with them to form a team of motivated employees. Give them the chance to shape the new way they will be working. And to test it in the practical world. Do this and the change is already underway. Step by step, they’ll make the new way of working their own.

Let them experience how it feels to use this new way of working to score with clients. By doing so, you’ll create a desire for change. And slowly, you’ll notice an undeniable improvement in your efficiency. Your clients are sure to notice it too.

Written by Stéphanie ‘t Felt Customer Strategy Expert @ Onestone