How an SRM Can Manage Your Key Communications for a Smoother Transition
Whether your organization is implementing new technologies or shifting organizational goals, change management can be a complicated process with many different stages.
When it comes to your stakeholders, how they perceive your change management process can vary. If you don't address change management concerns with clear and transparent engagement, the situation can quickly spiral out of control due to things like rumours and assumptions that breakdown trust, eroding important stakeholder relationships.
For today's blog, we're going to share how to include stakeholder engagement in your change management project and how our Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) software, Jambo, can help you manage the change management process more efficiently and effectively.
Why is Stakeholder Engagement Important in Change Management?
Stakeholders in your change management project include anyone impacted by the change (e.g. employees, partners, contractors, regulatory bodies, etc.).
With thoughtful and timely engagement, you can garner support and understanding from all your stakeholders, which is critical for the success of your change management project. However, change isn't always comfortable or welcomed, and resistance to your change management process from some stakeholders is inevitable, so there are some critical steps to consider.
Change Management Engagement Considerations
Who will be impacted by the changes?
There will be internal and external stakeholders to consider, so try to brainstorm all possible people who could be affected by these changes.
Using a stakeholder map canvas, categorize stakeholders by the level of interest and influence they have within the context of your project and its success (new to stakeholder mapping? Check out our blog on How to do a Stakeholder Mapping Exercise).
You can use this categorization to help when you're deciding on engagement tactics.
Forms of Communication
Take some time to consider the best ways to communicate with your stakeholders:
- Video call?
- Phone call?
- Face-to-face meetings?
Not all stakeholders will require the same level of communication (e.g. an intranet announcement will work for some, but not all). Also, not all stakeholders will respond the same to the different forms of communication.
Take the time to decide how you'll communicate with each stakeholder group and remember to be flexible if you need to make changes.
Whatever you decide, the forms of communication used need to be clear and easy to monitor.
For your change management process to be effective, you need to identify the leaders who will guide the management of your stakeholder engagement efforts. Leaders need to be trustworthy, approachable and knowledgeable.
Decide the roles the leaders will play and who will be responsible for communicating with each stakeholder group. Consider, which leaders will be the designated contacts during the change management process, and how will stakeholders contact them?
These are questions you need to answer before you begin communicating with your stakeholders.
Identify your key messages early to ensure clear and consistent communication. This clarity and consistency will help to avoid confusion over mixed messages and helps to ensure that your stakeholders have the vital information they need from the start.
First, you need to have a clear understanding of the goal your organization is trying to achieve by implementing the changes and then define the key messages that explain this to your stakeholders in a relatable way.
Careful wording is critical as your choices can impact how your stakeholders will view the process, so take your time to develop thoughtful messaging. Anyone involved in the process as a leader should be aware of key messages and any changes to these messages.
What's the Plan?
Stakeholders feel more empowered when they are provided with relevant and honest information about the upcoming changes as early into the process as possible.
Before you begin engaging, you should ensure you have a plan and timeline for communicating the coming changes.
Always make sure there is a feedback loop, so stakeholders know who to contact with concerns or questions. You aren’t truly engaging with your stakeholders if they can’t contribute to the conversation.
When stakeholders know when to expect communications and who they can contact with questions, they feel included, which lessens the likelihood of your stakeholders turning to the dreaded rumour mill for information.
Communication is Key and Having the Right Tool in Place is Critical
Once you've got your plan in place, how will you organize, manage and track all your communications and stakeholder engagement?
If you're not adequately tracking all your stakeholder communications, you're at risk of missing out on what stakeholders are saying and the opportunity to resolve any potential issues quickly. This can negatively impact the success of your change management process and lead to breakdowns in critical stakeholder relationships.
To ensure that stakeholders are getting the right information, at the right time, from the right people, Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) software is a tool you can use to manage all your stakeholder engagement in one, easy to understand space.
An SRM can help everyone involved in the change management process to stay on top of all communications with stakeholders collaboratively and intentionally. Project leaders can ensure key messages are being used, check on who has or has not been contacted, as well as the status of any stakeholder issues.
How Jambo Stakeholder Relationship Management Software Helps
With workflows designed specifically for managing stakeholder information and stakeholder engagement efforts, our SRM, Jambo, makes managing and organizing stakeholder engagement during a change management project straightforward and easy.
Here are some ways Jambo helps:
When it comes to change management, there will undoubtedly be commitments made to stakeholders.
Commitments (you might call them promises) require follow-up. If you or someone on your team forgets to follow-up on a commitment to a stakeholder, then any trust you had with this person will quickly disintegrate, which is risky as trust is critical during change management.
Remember, trust takes years to build, but only seconds to destroy.
With Jambo's commitments module, you can easily view all commitments (current and past). You can also search commitments by stakeholder contact, which is very useful if you'll be speaking with them and want to ensure you're up to date on any promises that you or your team have made.
With Jambo, your input process is simplified and streamlined. With all your communications and stakeholder information in one unified and organized system, you can understand what people are saying to better decide what's working and what needs to be changed.
With all your information in the system, you can run reports to understand your project better, allowing you to drill down into specifics like the number of open issues or a project overview that's easily shareable with management and key stakeholders.
Jambo's built-in maps help you to visually understand your stakeholder engagement activities and helps you to track any areas of concern. This is useful if there are multiple geographic locations involved in the project.
Jambo's unique tagging system allows you to attribute stakeholders and engagement records with custom tags to better track and identify trends in your data.
Tags are instrumental when you want to track specific stakeholders. You can add tags to critical stakeholders to identify them according to importance, concerns, interests, etc. You can also filter and search your tags to find all engagement with tagged individuals and run reports on them.
When it comes to implementing change, stakeholder issues are bound to arise, and they must be dealt with as quickly and tactfully as possible.
With Jambo's issues module and easy to understand issues timeline, you can monitor any current or previous issues that have arisen and understand their impact and priority.
This helps to ensure that you never fail to try and resolve an issue. You'll have access to a timeline that shows all communication with the stakeholders related to the issue, which is essential when trying to build and maintain stakeholder trust and critical for keeping your change management project moving forward.
What About Other Change Management Tools?
Using Spreadsheets to Manage Change Management Communications
Spreadsheets aren’t ideal for managing stakeholder engagement because spreadsheets quickly become overly messy and complicated, which is problematic when you’re trying to organize and manage essential information.
Often, it will start with one spreadsheet, but it quickly becomes five or ten, or more. With your information in multiple spreadsheets, cross referencing information quickly complicates reviewing and reporting on vital information.
As well, when working on a change management project, where multiple people need access to the data to input and share, spreadsheets can become overly complicated and even be a project risk due to potential gaps in the data (i.e. from inconsistent input methods or poor organization).
Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software to Manage Change Management Communications
Having the right software to help you stay organized is crucial to your organization's success.
While there are some similarities to SRMs, CRMs are designed to manage customers and sales, not stakeholders. This means that workflows and nomenclature are different, which can be both confusing and costly, and greatly impact the effectiveness of the tool. Conversely, SRMs are designed for stakeholders with workflows to support their engagement.
Say Hello to Jambo
Jambo is the fastest and easiest way for organizations and government departments to manage their stakeholder information, stakeholder communications and their stakeholder engagement projects.
In these changing times, change management projects are becoming increasingly popular across industries. Jambo helps change management project leaders solve many of the unique challenges they are facing.
To fully understand the depth of the Jambo software and the features that can help you manage and organize your stakeholder information throughout your change management project, sign up for one of our one-hour live web demos.
We'll show you how Jambo can help your organization meet its goals in a no-pressure environment.