When developing a change communication strategy there is nothing more important that analysing stakeholders. You need to understand all of them, segment them into key groups or individuals understanding the level of interest or impact that a change will potentially have on them.
This is because rarely does a “one size fits all” approach work when it comes to change communication. Who communicates with each stakeholder segment, how we communicate, what we communicate, the frequency and level of detail are all important.
However it is even more important to consider exactly what behaviours the business need to see changed in order to achieve the desired outcomes and to say our change communication strategy has been successful. The main measure of any change communication strategy has to be contribution to business outcomes.
So here are 10 key things to consider when undertaking a stakeholder analysis:
- For each stakeholder whether group or individual what is going to change for them?
- What is their level of support for the proposed changes?
- Have you identified who you need to work closely with and what change communication activities you can implement to ensure engagement?
- What will they need to do differently as a result of the changes?
- Therefore what will they need to know that they don’t know now?
- What is the best way to support them so that they in turn support the business changes?
- How can you design change communication activities that will involve them in the process of change rather than simply inform them about the changes?
- What communication tools work now that you can leverage?
- What communication tools need to be tweaked slightly so that they can be leveraged rather than replaced?
- How can you design change communication tools to support the change communication activities between stakeholders?
The worst examples I have seen of stakeholder analysis and engagement plans is a list of stakeholders and the various information tools for each. By this I mean how regularly you will send emails, have one on one meetings, update the intranet etc. This is information, and whilst important changes very little in terms of behaviours and engagement.
So if you focus on the above ten points this is a great basis for developing your change communication strategies. It provides a clear analysis of all segments of your audience, you understand their needs, concerns, and can then work out what involvement activities will assist in facilitating their support. You then can provide advice to key sponsors of the change program about your strategy to mitigate any possible people issues that could derail a program of change.
And above all, importantly people feel good about the change, you have designed a change communication program that supports them, involves them and rewards them for their commitment.