Communicating change in the workplace is hard work.
Not to mention the challenge of capturing the attention of employees – you’ll first have to compete with what’s in their inbox, what’s on their plate, and finally… what’s on their mind.
Over the past nine years, I’ve worked on 8 long-term IT transformation programs for major clients in the aviation, finance, utilities and financial sectors. Here’s how I summarise what I’ve learnt about communicating change:
- Grab their attention
- Appeal to their emotions
- Help fulfil their intentions
- Spark action
As John P. Kotter says in his book (The heart of change): Changing behaviour is less a matter of giving people analysis to influence their thoughts than helping them to see a truth to influence their feelings.
So, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of ideas to help your audience see a truth to influence their feelings. For the purpose of this post, let’s assume the IT change in question is introducing Microsoft Lync at the enterprise level of an organisation.
Ideas for creating infographics relevant to the change
1. The benefits of using…[blank]
Share the benefits of using the tool/system/platform that is being introduced in a strong visual infographic. Remember not to focus on the features, but the benefits. In this example, The benefits of using Microsofy Lync could include segments on improved conference calls and video calls, never missing another call with call forwarding to your mobile, etc.
2. The profile of a …[blank]
Illustrate what an avatar of an ideal user would look like – and portray him/her as a superstar [blank] because of course, that’s what the tool/system/platform supposed to do, right? Be creative with how you communicate features and benefits (think superpowers, toolkits, and gadgetry). For example: Confessions of a superstar communicator at work.
3. How to fix …[blank]
Employees can quickly relate to an infographic that helps them solve a problem. The stickier the problem, the more effective the infographic will serve as a change communication tool. For example, Never miss another million dollar client call again (addressing the call forwading feature of Microsoft Lync).
4. Where to get …[blank]
Pointing people to where they can get help or access to useful resources can also be a great topic for an infographic. For example: Where to find help with setting up Microsoft Lync at home.
5. How to use…[blank]
Another great content idea for an infographic is to pick a key function of the system/tool/platform and highlight how to use it. For example: 5 keys to running a successful conference call with colleagues from across the country.
6. The future of … [blank]
Think about what the bigger picture when trying to describe what the tool/system/platform is changing in the workplace. Create an infographic that visually shows the advances that are to come with the change. Start the infographic with an illustration and description of the problems of the current landscape, and draw people in to ideal vision of the future. For example: The future of connecting with co-workers and clients.
Ideas for presentations and webinars
7. Invite partner or vendor organisations to speak at your workplace
Host lunchtime talks. Have experts from your partner/vendor organisation speak at your office on different topics of interest that are 100% relevant to your employees. The topics should be related to the tool/system/platform, but more importantly it should address an issue, or serve a need or share a solution to a common problem faced by people in your organisation. For example, one topic could be: 10 reasons why you should work from home more (highlighting the ability to work remotely more easily by using the functionalities provided by Microsoft Lync).
8. Invite partner or vendor organisations to co-host a webinar
Same as number 7, except it’s done through a webinar. Whole lot cheaper and easier to organise.
9. Invite speakers from within your organisation
Same idea as number 7, but this time, invite early adopters from within the organisation who have made significant progress with the tool/system/platform – and is able to share their learnings with others from within the organisation. This can be held virtually as a webinar or as a face-to-face session.
10. Run a weekly office-hours call or coaching call
Offer people a chance to call at a regular time each week, to ask any questions they may have about the change or the system/tool/platform. Record the entire session using a screen capture tool, and save the file as a movie file on an archive on the intranet. Add show notes so that people who are searching for help with a certain topic can find the right episode to download.
Ideas for creating videos that are engaging
11. From the desk of the CIO or CEO
Have your business sponsor speak about the change and the vision behind it in his/her own words – then add some motion graphics and kinetic typography to make it visually appealing. Illustrate key concepts using animation to make it easier for audiences to digest. Here’s an example that I created some time ago. Completely fictional (as you can tell) but the idea behind it is to have the voice of the business leader come through clearly so people can identify that this is from the top, but at the same time, have it communicated in a visually appealing way.
12. Animate compelling stats
Another strong way to create an emotional impact on your audience is to do a video that conveys compelling facts and figures. The more shocking, the better. For example “hours wasted”, “problems logged”, “challenges faced” in the current landscape. Make it clear that the way things are working now – isn’t really going to work in the long run. Something has to change. Again, motion graphics and kinetic typography can be really useful to accomplish this.
13. Create an explainer video to introduce the new tool/system/platform
Sometimes, you need to be able to communicate the need for change, the benefits, and the ‘how’ at one go, in a format that is quick and easy to digest. The best way to do this is by creating an explainer video. Imagine you’re a startup, and you’re trying to explain your app to a potential customer. Statistics show that if your website has an explainer video that shows the visitor what your app does in 90 seconds or less, there’s an 83% higher chance of that visitor converting into a customer compared to if your website only had text. Here’s an example of an explainer video I created for a client that introduces Microsoft Lync to the employees of their organisation.
14. Step-by-step how-to videos
Look at the type of questions and help requests you receive from users. Select the top 10 questions and create short step-by-step videos using a screen capture tool like Camtasia, Lectora or Adobe Captivate.
Ideas for using images
(to be used for presentation, intranet posts, enterprise social networking, banners and posters)
15. Create images that show current world vs future world
Sometimes, a strong visual comparison of what the current landscape looks like in contrast to what the future could look like can be a very effective method for convincing people of the needed change. For example, one client I worked with was trying to encourage their employees to adopt digital workplace practices. An image that really worked for them was one which showed the condition of their existing filerooms next to an image of what the workplace would look like without filerooms.
You can use these images in presentations as well as intranet posts.
16. Create user images + quotes
This one can be a great image to use to strenghthen an article in your newsletter or intranet or even as a standalone poster. Take a photo of an actual user who has something great to say about the tool/system/platform. Place the quote, the name and the department of the user in large print over the image.
17. Create images of the tool/system/platform in action
Show the tool doing its magic. For example, create a composite image of five colleagues from different geographical locations, using Microsoft Lync to communicate using video conference. Great to add to presentations, intranet posts or banners.
18. Create images of people in the IT or Change Team who can help
A lot of times, change is impersonal. Why not make it personal, by taking photos of the team supporting users in the background – whether they’re floor walkers, call centre specialists, trainers, change practitioners, etc… take photos of the team (either profile shots or team shots or team-in-action shots) and use them in a post on ‘We’re here to support you through this change’.
I hope you found this list useful. Hopefully there are a couple of ideas here which you might be able to implement on your next IT change program. Do you have any ideas that you could add to this list? Leave a comment below.
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