How to communicate change in your organisation

For most internal communicators, our daily work includes elements of change communication.

What do you think when you hear the word change? Does it fill you with a sense of dread, or do you enjoy it?

Change has a multitude of meanings for us as internal communicators and shows up in various forms.

Examples include a CEO exit plan, a new company strategy, hybrid working patterns, adapting channels or planning acquisition comms.

It can also include company rebranding, restructuring, IPO (Initial Public Offering) comms or overseeing a technology refresh or rollout e.g. a new digital workplace or intranet.

Whatever the situation and your length of IC experience, I’m certain you will be encountering change.

I’ve written about change numerous times over the past 13 years of writing this blog and love helping organisations navigate their way through it.

How good is your organisation at communicating change?

Do you get locked into a tactical cycle of being brought in at the last-minute or are you working as a trusted adviser, championing effective internal communication at every stage?

Below you’ll find some of my golden rules.

How to communicate change in your organisation:

  • Focus on your language. Define terms, explain what you mean and bear their impact in mind.
  • Watch your words. People are not resources or assets. They’re not headcount either.
  • Communicate for/with employees, not at/to them. Think two-way dialogue, not a broadcasted monologue. Less cascade and more conversations.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Check your assumptions and gauge sentiment.
  • Internal communication is too important to be left to one team or department, it is everyone’s responsibility. So is change.
  • Kindness, ethics, empathy and commitment are super powers. Use them wisely and use them well. Most of all, use them.
  • What happens inside is reflected outside.
  • Be intentional with your planning. What do you want employees to do, say, think and feel as a result of your change communication? How do you want or need them to behave?
  • If you don’t set your intentions, you’ve got zero chance of measuring.
  • Take the corporate out of corporate comms when communicating change. This is the time for human, relatable and relevant connection with your people.
  • Use consistency, clarity and certainty as your anchors.
  • Map your known knowns and known unknowns.
  • Explain your thinking. Work out loud and bring employees with you.
  • Once change has finished, communicate this fact.
  • Make sure you review your change communication. Have a wash-up at the end, what did you learn? What went well/dreadfully? What would you do differently next time?

I talked about some of these rules in an episode of my Candid Comms podcast: How to communicate change.

Come and learn about change face-to-face with me

Change can be such a knotty topic, which stresses out internal communicators and companies alike.

I’m looking forward to teaching my Change Communication Masterclass next month. This is a face-to-face session from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday 13 July 2022. I’ll be unravelling the knots and hosting the session at our office and dedicated training centre, the All Things IC Hub in London.

If you are struggling with change, want to check your thinking or learn about change communication for the first time, you’re in the right place.

There is no such thing as a daft question, you’re welcome to come whether you are brand new to change, have oodles of experience or are simply curious about this area of internal communication.

Save your place today.

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Book now

Why is it helpful to study change?

Spending time refreshing or adding to your knowledge about change communication theory is beneficial.

I remember studying change communication theory for the first time during the Institute of Internal Communication’s post-graduate diploma in IC back in 2008.

I finally had something to back up my instinct, reassure me about my approach and correct my mistakes.

Most internal communicators are aware of popular change comms models. But the joy of this Masterclass is providing a confidential space where practitioners can ask questions. As a group of peers we can work together to listen to the various situations people are in, share advice and swap horror stories.

We’ve all got them!

Rachel shares her work so generously and she also took the time to listen and respond to all the delegates’ questions. As a result the session was very open and honest and I felt we all learned from Rachel and from each other.” – Susannah Strong, NHS.

I’ve made many mistakes and learnt a great deal throughout my internal communication career. If you have attended a Masterclass with me, you’ll know how candid our confidential conversations are and how willing I am to listen without judgement to help you improve.

The Change Communication Masterclass conversations typically see us unpicking situations people are in, giving fresh perspectives and sharing insight with each other as a group.

What will we cover?

As a result of attending a Change Communication Masterclass with All Things IC, you’ll leave with practical skills and the confidence to:

  • Understand change communication theory
  • Examine the role of the modern senior communicator and their team when communicating change
  • Ask for advice with your change communication needs
  • Know how other people communicate change including restructures, office moves and much more
  • Analyse communication methods, including planning and stakeholders.

All Things IC Change Comms Masterclass

What do attendees think?

Attendees say they leave with ideas to put into practice straight away.

“With a well-paced look at change theory, the Masterclass provided us with the tools to go back into our organisations, plan change comms effectively and have those difficult conversations with senior stakeholders.

“I thoroughly recommend this Masterclass to any comms professional, I guarantee you will learn lots!” – Helen Alexander, General Dental Council.

“Spending a day with Rachel is the equivalent of reading loads of books or attending several conferences. With her vast experience she’s able to cut through the noise and point to the things she feels are most relevant. It was a great day, I highly recommend the Change Communications course and have immediately put my knowledge into action. I look forward to signing up to another one!” – Martin Stubbs-Partridge.

“This is the most useful course I’ve ever participated in. I feel so secure to deal with change communication in my role now,” – Evelina Andersson, H&M.


Masterclass quote Martin


Is this Masterclass for me?

Yes if:

  • You want to build on existing knowledge and take your internal communication to the next level.
  • You’re happy to share experiences and examples with peers and provide and receive honest and constructive feedback.
  • You’d like to meet other communication professionals and expand your network.
  • You are working in-house. Please note this Masterclass is not designed for Comms Consultants or agency employees.

Your investment is £649+VAT per person. See the Masterclasses booking page to save your place. If you are a CIPR member, don’t forget to log your CPD for attending this Masterclass.

It’s taking place on 13 July 2022 at the All Things IC Hub from 10am-4pm. I hope to see you there.

Can’t make this date? Let us know you are interested in future sessions and the team and I will keep you posted about upcoming dates.


Upcoming Monthly Masterclasses in the All Things IC Hub

See the What’s On page to keep an eye on what’s ahead.

Applications are currently open for the All Things IC Inner Circle. The next cohort will be starting in September 2022 and is suitable for experienced IC professionals.

Members of the Inner Circle will work with their peers via monthly two-hour virtual Masterminds, have monthly 1-2-1 Power Hours with me, benefit from access to two Online Masterclasses for themselves or a team member, plus you’ll receive an exclusive range of stationery.

Apply today for the September 2022 cohort.

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Thank you for stopping by


Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 13 June 2022.


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