Innovation is necessary to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore, companies that are working smart and efficiently when it comes to digital transformation will eventually win in the (near) future. From AI to the Internet of Things, from blockchain to digital assistants, all these developments enable companies to develop and innovate faster, increasing their competitive advantage. But there is one thing you should not forget in your innovation process: your own employee.
With all the possibilities you have nowadays, you could simply assemble a team of change managers and data analysts and start innovating, right? Technically, yes. But you should always keep in mind that each innovation and internal change process also requires a change of behaviour of your employees to make the transformation successful. You could invest in the best technologies available, but if your employees do not use them, you are still not increasing your competitive advantage. Employees are crucial when it comes to implementing changes successfully. Research has shown that the biggest risks of change management are employees not displaying the desired change in behaviour. Due to, amongst others, a lack in good internal communications, 70 percent of all change projects do not achieve the pre-defined targets. So there you are, with all your fancy change managers and data analysts.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to get far, go together.
Most change processes within companies are focussed on technological innovations. The biggest pitfall in this is not including your employees, or internal customer, in the entire transformation process. Because without them, you will not be able to profit from these technological innovations. Sounds easy, right?
To be honest, it's not that easy. Before starting, you need to get to know your target audience and define who needs to know what. What is their motivation and the desired behavioural change? When you only start considering this after the change process has already been completed, you are late to the party. Just consider again that the success of your project depends on your employees, no matter if it's big or small, national or international. Therefore, they should be a priority in this process, don't you think?
Let's take a short detour: Imagine you wanted to introduce a new product. Even before the product is ready to hit the market, your marketing department is already working on the external communication. Most likely, they made a communication plan and work with different creative and media agencies, running at full speed. They all want the introduction of the product be a success. To be able to track if the introduction is indeed successful, all activities are measurable. However, while the external communication of a new product has been worked out in detail, there is no plan on how to introduce it internally.
Internal Communications: No Communication Science
For some reason, when focussing on the target audience outside of your company in this scenario, you forgot the people that actually have to help you sell the new product on a daily basis. A short message on the intranet or automated mailing to all colleagues might be all they get. Or a short workshop, if they are lucky.
You don't need to be a communications specialist to understand that this is not enough to ensure that your employees embrace the change and are motivated to adapt their behaviour accordingly. With all eyes on the external target group, it should not come as a surprise that innovation is not a priority for your internal target audience. The modern world of internal communications is no longer about a nice image, infographic or animation to briefly communicate about change management. It's rather about the purpose of the message and on how to reach your employees efficiently.
Internal Communication Plan
What do we learn from the scenario above? Basically that, with every change that you want to implement in your company, you should not forget your internal communications. Identify your internal target audiences and make an internal communication plan, just as you would make one for your external marketing. Make your internal communication measurable. And don't wait until the last possible moment to update your employees on the change. This is a way more efficient way to stay ahead of the competition than investing in a whole team of change managers and data analysts.
Curious about how you can successfully communicate your upcoming change processes? Get in touch with our consultancy team who will happily help you to create and implement an internal communication plan successfully.
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