Change is inevitable in the workplace. Even the biggest and most successful firms go through periods when profits dip. Just a couple of years ago, GoPro was considered the most successful camera in the world. Today, its sales have plunged even during the holiday season which has traditionally been the period when sales were at its strongest.
During periods of changes and uncertainty, it is the primary role of the internal communications department or unit to come up with an internal communication plan that can ease the fears and worries of the employees. The internal communication plan should also provide the management with the opportunity to assert their leadership, communicate the vision of the company, and inspire the rest of the workforce.
An internal communication plan should do two major things during major workplace changes:
Employees need to know right away about any major changes that their company is implementing, or about to go through. This would not only prevent gossips from spreading in the workplace but more importantly foster greater collaboration among the staff.
One good example of an internal communication plan or campaign implemented by a company undergoing major changes is the One Toyota campaign of the Japanese automaker.
As a backgrounder, the Japanese vehicle maker was to bring all its four North American headquarter operations under one roof. The new plant is located in Plano, Texas. Toyota is a firm that isn’t used to major changes, but the relocation of its offices was prompted by stiffer competition in the automobile industry. The move was to affect nearly 5,000 of the company’s 30,000 US-based workers.
While the move won’t happen until the end of 2017, the campaign has been successful in informing the employees about the relocation. In a poll, 83 percent of the workers were able to understand the need for the restructuring 24 hours after the campaign started.
The company employed different methods to get the message across. The firm’s North American CEO Jim Lentz discussed the issue with the managers, who then communicated his message to the employees. Toolkits were given to the managers to help them better communicate with the staffers.
Lentz also held townhall meetings, while an internal website was created for the employees.
Internal communication campaigns can also inspire employees, motivating them to do their best in the workplace and in turn help the company they work for remain relevant and thriving.
One example of an excellent internal communication plan that inspired employees was the “Builders of Tomorrow” campaign of California-based IT firm Cisco. It aimed to highlight the products and technologies of their best engineers and on a broader scale, to invigorate the corporate culture of the company and attract and retain its best engineers.
Like Toyota, Cisco is in a highly competitive industry. It was critical for it to have the best engineers to be able to compete in the IT industry.
The campaign feature compelling stories that were uploaded on the company’s Intranet. Interesting photos, captions, videos, and text-based stories were tapped to showcase the works of Cisco’s best and brightest.
The campaign received positive feedback from the employees. The company noted high click-through rates on stories, photos, and videos. It also earned a “People’s Choice” award in 2012. It also inspired a new social media campaign for the company, and content was developed for pitching to news reporters.
Indeed, an internal communication plan or campaign can have a huge impact on an organization going through changes. As long as the plan is properly executed, positive results should follow.