Organizational Change Communication Planning

Discussion of Things to Consider

Appropriate and timely communications are essential for the success of the any large transformation program. With any geographical separation between the development teams and some of the businesses, effective communication is vital to building awareness, understanding, and buy-in among end-users and key stakeholders. The activities outlined in the communication plan are geared toward reducing the natural resistance that accompanies change and encourage positive reaction. To successfully manage change, those impacted by what is changing must understand the vision, the purpose for the planned transformation and the personal and organizational benefits enabled from implementing.

Managing change initiatives effectively requires communication throughout the entire change process. It means providing the right information to the right people at the right time through the right channels to achieve specific goals. The Communication Strategy will help Sponsors, Champions and Change Agents to manage expectations and provide consistent messages to impacted stakeholders.

he purpose of any communication plan is to enable change through frequent and factual information flow, clear roles and responsibilities, benefits, and rewards.

The Enterprise Implementation Team must be committed to effective communications as a critical component to the success of the SAP Project. All communications must be aimed at building employee commitment to the technology, people, and process changes resulting from the SAP Project. Communications will help support and perhaps even drive the new employee and organizational behaviors that are required in order to achieve the benefits posed by this implementation.

A detailed Communications Schedule and Plan will be developed to support the overall Communications Strategy. A Communication Plan involves the identification of the plan for communicating the change to all stakeholders. Strategies describe how communications will take place, how often, to whom, and how the change will be positioned. Once the strategy is developed, a tactical plan is created to identify the who, how, when, where, why, and what.

COMMUNICATION OBJECTIVES

Key objectives of Enterprise Communications are to:

- Establish a communication process that is an integral component to the SAP Project because it supports Cameron’s overall business direction and positions leaders to demonstrate their sponsorship
- Build employee and other stakeholder commitment to the vision of the SAP Project by promoting employee feedback and using that feedback in planning and decision-making, in supporting employee learning, and in facilitating information flow across key SAP Project decision points
- Add value to the organization both during and after the SAP Project by introducing select but necessary new communications practices, encouraging continuous improvement, and by focusing on maximizing resources throughout the organization and the change process
- Create constructive dialogue among key stakeholders about the new business systems and Cameron’s direction
- Establish an infrastructure that moves messages quickly and easily through approval systems and that encourages the most proactive spirit among the communications team members
- Ensure that communications both inform and motivate stakeholders, as these are requisites to successful implementation of the SAP Project
- Target messages, audiences, and media that will carry the greatest impact as measured by the feedback management process over the SAP Project’s duration

Communication Approach

The overall approach to Enterprise Communications is stakeholder focused, and designed to generate the appropriate level of commitment to the Project at different points. Different stakeholders will need to be progressed to different stages on the ‘commitment curve’, as illustrated below:

The first message to be communicated to all employees will be to bring people into ‘contact’ with the Project. For those who may already have heard of the Project ‘on the grapevine,’ it is designed to bring them toward the ‘awareness’ stage of the commitment curve.

The overall approach consists of a common communications framework across the whole of the Project, as depicted in the schematic below:

Project stakeholder identification and involvement activities are the first step in undertaking project communications. Other key components are communication messages, channels, measurement, and roles. The Enterprise Project approach to each of these is described below.

Included: date, event, frequency, communication channel, content, objective of communication, and communication goal.

Communication Messages

Messages from the link between the Communication Strategy’s goals and its key stakeholders. Messages represent the “content” that flows through communication channels to impacted stakeholder groups. Key messages, more than any other element of the Communications Strategy, are dynamic. They will evolve and change during the life cycle of both the Communications Strategy and the Transformation Project. Changes in messages will be driven by, among other influences:
- Stakeholder reactions, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors
- Project progress
- Results of Project initiatives
- External factors (e.g., trade union sanctions)
- Internal factors (e.g., organizational changes)

Key messages will be identified as strategic, tactical, or organizational in order to be consistent with the structure of the Project Communication Strategy and relevant to Cameron’s culture and business needs.

Strategic Messages

Strategic communication relates to the broad concept of, and need for, an approach to the Project. This is communication designed to promote the acceptance of the Project, an understanding of its need, and an awareness of what it means to the organization, as well as the organization’s key internal and external stakeholders. Strategic communication includes key messages relating to Cameron’s overall business strategy, vision, goals and objectives (the initial communications letter to all employees is a strategic message). The majority of communication to management and staff during the first three (3) months of the Project will be strategic in nature. As the Project progresses, however there will be gradually less focus on strategic communications and more focus on tactical and organizational communications.

The audience for strategic key messages will be a large group of stakeholders, such as all managers and staff.

Strategic key messages include:
- The Business Case for the Enterprise Project.
- Project Goals and Objectives.
- Links between overall business strategy and the Project.
- Project Team Organization.
- The strategic importance of the Project.
- Key Project steps or phases, timing, key decision points, and expected overall results.
- The Project vision to create in simple terms an understanding of what the Cameron company will look like.
- Communication events and processes.

Tactical Messages

Tactical communication refers to the specific issues related to the process and results of each team (area) within the Project (e.g. technical, financial, manufacturing, change management). This communication will focus on the specific impact of changes in all areas (people process and technology) as determined by each project team. While it is recognized that the Project is an integrated set of activities, it is likely that information relating to specific project teams will need to be communicated at different times and to different stakeholder groups depending on specific results and outcomes.

Tactical key messages will relate to the specific goals and activities of each project team or area, and will include:

  • Project team goals and objectives
  • Project team milestones, key activities, and progress
  • Project results, with particular emphasis on successes and specific achievements
  • The impact and implication of changes on specific stakeholders resulting from project team plans and actions
  • The rationale for key decisions
  • The process through which stakeholders, including employees, can become involved in or provide feedback to specific project team activities;
  • The results and impact of feedback received from managers and staff regarding specific Enterprise Project initiatives.

Organizational Messages

Organizational communication reflects the fact that some change management activities (Organization Design) will directly relate to individual roles and jobs within Cameron. As such, this type of communication is likely to have the most impact on individuals within the organization and is highly sensitive. Organizational communication maintains a high priority in terms of content and timing within Project Communications. Organization communication can be delivered in a variety of channels, as appropriate, and generally requires the respect and confidence of all Cameron management and staff. The communication of changes to specific individuals’ roles and jobs, for example, will occur through confidential one-to-one meetings with the people concerned.

Organizational messages may include:
- Changes to structures and reporting relationships
- Desired behaviors/cultural changes
- Changes in human resource processes such as performance management
- Changes to roles and jobs
- The rationale behind any organizational change

Communication Channels

Communication channels serve as the link between key messages and the stakeholders who are the audiences for those messages. A variety of channels can be used as part of the communication strategy. These messages serve as the foundation for the two-way communication process. This process should promote and facilitate the flow of information to and from impacted stakeholders.

Based on the Current State Communications Assessment (see Section 8 below) the most effective communication channels will be identified to support the overall Project. Some examples are:
- Online or Electronic form
- Newsletters
- Posters
- Fact sheets
- Q&A process
- Staff meetings
- Location-based communications events
- Bulletin boards
- Video tape

Communication Roles

Responsibility for the success of Project Communication rests at three (3) levels.
1. The first relates to the overall responsibility for ensuring that the comprehensive plan is supported, understood and implemented. This role lies with the Project Sponsors. Project Sponsors provide high-level guidance related to communication messages, with particular focus on strategic and organizational messages.
2. The second level of responsibility is for the ongoing planning, development, and implementation of specific communication activities. This role sits firmly with the Change Management team; however, it must be supported by the project managers and project team. As the Project progresses, particularly as tactical and organizational messages become relevant, greater project team input will be required.
3. The third level, and perhaps most critical level of responsibility lies with identified change leaders (directors, managers, change agents, etc.) throughout Cameron. All will have important responsibilities in both sharing and gathering knowledge about the Project. In many areas of the business, these are the people who will be dealing with staff impacted by the Enterprise Project on a daily basis. With the help and
assistance of the Change Management team, these people must provide a constant flow of communication both to and from stakeholders.

A formal ‘cascade’ process and communications network will be established to facilitate this communication.

Measuring Communications Effectiveness

It is critical to the success of the Project to obtain feedback from a variety of sources about the effectiveness of communications activities, in order to:
- Identify shortcomings and ambiguities in order that they can be addressed;
- Provide an opportunity to gather information that may not otherwise be obtainable;
- Allow the views of the audience to be incorporated and therefore increase the likely acceptance of the messages.
Effectiveness Criteria
The following criteria will be applied to determine effectiveness:
- Reach — Has the right message been delivered to the correct audience for that message?
- Understanding — Has the message contained in the communication products or activities been easy to understand and is it concise, clear and relevant?
- Timing — Has the timing of product or activity been timed correctly?
- Media — Has the medium for the communications product effectively reflected the audience and the message?
Assessment Methods
A number of assessment methods will be used to evaluate communication effectiveness, including: questionnaires, telephone interviews, feedback forms and formal/informal reviews. The method will depend on the aspect of communications being measured and stakeholder group. Feedback will be logged and required changes incorporated into on-going communication change management activities.
Establishment of the Base Line of Effectiveness
The Current State Communications Assessment and Change Leader Readiness Assessment will provide a reasonable baseline for measuring SAP Project Communications. Subsequent measurement will occur in alignment with key Project milestones and communication events.
- Audience: The specific group or individuals to whom the messages will be sent.
- Channel: The individual group, vehicle, or medium through which the message will be sent to the audience.
- Responsibility: The responsible persons for the development, drafting and distribution of the message.
- Feedback/Measurement: The process that will be used to obtain feedback on the message, enabling tracking of receipt of messages as well as identifying how clearly and positively the messages are received.

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