Overview: This communication plan is not intended to facilitate communication within a project team itself. Neither is this task intended to pre-empt an organization’s corporate communication process or corporate communication organization. Rather, this task is intended to create a plan to engage the staff who will be impacted by re-organized functions, new technology, or improved processes. To the extent possible, this communication plan should be created to work within the corporate communications organization methods, and coordinated with the project team communication.

Considerations: Clearly explain the intentions and planned end-results of the effort to the stakeholders. The way messages are communicated plays a large part in employee attitudes about change and will influence involvement and commitment. In this instance, active use of the technology by business unit leaders, high-touch demonstrations, and thoughtfully delivered training should be considered as part of the overall communication plan. Has Corporate Communications been informed about the change, and has that organization been consulted about the best ways to communicate? Are there any team members who are particularly adept at communicating? Who might be helpful in developing slide-show presentations, or drafting emails to be distributed?

Practices:

  • State to the Farmers and Scientists “This task creates a plan for communication to be distributed, then for feedback to be evaluated.”
  • Identify all stakeholder groups. Note that some people will be part of more than one group. All impacted staff will be part of at least one group.
  • For each group, document: preferred media types, influential communicators, key messages, and potential areas of concern or misunderstandings.
  • Create spreadsheet. Each row represents a communication event.
  • Include these column headings on the spreadsheet: (1) Communication Event Identifier (2) Stakeholder Group Name (3) Media to be used (4) Message summary (5) Sender of the communication (6) Method for Gathering Feedback (7) Timing of the communication event
  • Complete the spreadsheet by summarizing each planned communication event on one row in the spreadsheet, with information filled out under each of the seven column headings listed above.
  • Include a process for quality assurance and feedback monitoring
  • Plan to use front-line supervisors for delivering the most provocative messages to the organization. Reach the front-line supervisors through direct interaction with the executive team, educating them about the planned change, reasons for the change, and process for change.