Communicating Protocol Change

Posted June 26, 2006 by tenderfootmanagement
Categories: Communication

When protocol is changed how do your employees accept it? It’s human nature to fight change. Why is this? Change takes us out of our comfort zone. Jeffrey Phillips explains why thrusting change on your employees does not work.

“As a manager, you can thrust change upon others, which rarely works, or you can determine the pain thresholds that will encourage people to get on board and move with you. You don’t have to be the Marquis de Sade to identify the pain, but you do have to understand what pains are important and educate your team on what pain is likely to happen. These pains may be different for various individuals on your team, so you’ll need to be a good communicator and explain what’s happening and why this change alleviate or eliminate actual or potential pain. Otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of numb employees who resent you for making them create another workaround.”

“You may think I’m a cynic, but human nature indicates that we often will bear an enormous amount of pain and frustration to continue working and living in a familiar situation, rather than experience some change. That’s the same in our personal lives as well as our work lives. Often we’ll tell our staff that the new way will be “better” or more “efficient” than the old method. For most people, that is simply not a strong enough reason to change. You’ve got to understand the pain threshold that will encourage them to move with you, rather than simply thrusting change upon them.”

Since we now know that simply saying the policy is “better” does not work how do we communicate change to our staff? Here a few ideas:

  • Explain why the change will be better for the company/department and for them.

By explaining to your employees the idea behind the change, you must make them understand why you or the company/department is changing the policy. The next part you must focus on is how the change is going to benefit them and the overall productivity.

  • Draw from your own experiences to communicate why the change is beneficial to the employees.

Using your own experiences humanizes the change. It shows the employees a real situation where the change has been beneficial. It also may help the team understand why the change has been implemented.

  • When you explain the change to your staff make sure your message is as clear as possible.

Think about what you are going to say to your employees versus winging it. By keeping it clean and simple it helps eliminate any misunderstandings regarding the new policy.

  • Keep in mind that everyone has a different tolerance for change.

When you are a manager you must respect all the personalities you may deal with.By being aware of your employees nature and respecting them this will help increase the loyalty of your team.

If you respect and communicate with your employees you will find that the transition time when the change has been instated will be much easier.


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