To Inform or Change Behavior?

 In Change Management, Communication

Communication is a powerful tool in organizations both to inform and to change behavior. 

Our client is moving thousands of employees in different divisions to a common set of HR policies and systems.  There is a lot that will be different for a lot of people.  One of our first challenges was to figure out, of all of the things that are going to be changing, what will require people to change their behavior versus what is just something they need to know about? 

For example, the fact that people will need to report their time on a new system in a new way will require that people change their behavior… they need to know about the change, they need to have the skills to use the new system, they need be motivated to pay attention and actually use the system correctly, etc…  For this kind of change, communication is an important part of a broader change management plan that includes skill building, leadership activities, organizational infrastructure adjustments, and more.

On the other hand, the fact that their paychecks will now look different is not going to require them to do anything different… it is just something they need to be aware of so that they don’t freak out when they see their stub.  For this kind of change, a well planned and executed communication plan can get the job done. 

Getting the best results starts with knowing whether we need to change behavior or just inform.