An emotional change...
It's been a while since I've got my act together and pulled together some words for this site. The intentions were always there but as usual life got in the way. However, I've decided to sort myself out and put the things I love doing first - one of which is this blog.
For the last few months I've spent quite a bit of time involved in a significant change project at work, which involved moving 11,000 staff into a new car park - slightly further away from their current site. This probably had to be one of the most sensitive, emotionally charged projects I've worked on for a long time, especially with the number of people involved. This not only impacted direct employees but also other organisations who are based on the site - 147 businesses to be exact. This meant our traditional in-house channels were not going to cut it this time round as none of these organisations had access.
So, what did we do...
Firstly, we knew we needed a collaborative tool that would give people the update they needed, whenever they required it. It had to be something that we could own 100% and something that was easily accessible which didn't impact existing channels within their own organisation. Taking this on board one of the first things we created was a news story app! As you know an app can be downloaded anywhere and can accessed anytime, which works for the stakeholders we had to communicate to (crew, pilots, shift-workers, engineers, fire people etc).
Obviously we knew not everyone was going to download the app in the time we had available so we went traditional and arranged as many face-to-face sessions we could with leaders from those organisations and with various unions. Now considering these colleagues are not our leaders, and we were not aware of their culture we made sure we were fully briefed about each organisation - who they were, what they did plus the numbers that were impacted etc. This helped us build a relationship as soon as we started as it showed we cared and taken time to understand their needs. I also created a briefing pack that contained everything they could possibly need to communicate the messages down to their teams, including FAQs, posters, presentations, and leaflets.
We also leaflet dropped to every single car that was parked in the existing car park and left posters on barriers, entrances and staff areas - old school - but it worked and I hit more than 10000 steps that day :-)
None of what we did was revolutionary in terms of comms but working the old and new channels together, creating a robust communications plan/strategy which everyone understands and ensuring great stakeholder engagement is what made this project a success.
How did we measure this success? Well almost 99% of the vehicles were relocated by the deadline and to-date we have received fewer than 25 complaints - which out of 11,000 isn't too bad....
It'll be great to hear about your experiences in an emotional charged change programme, what worked well, what did you learn?