We sat down with VTLO account director Carol Feinberg, who has extensive expertise in change management and employee engagement, to discuss the topic of move communications. Carol has worked with leaders in global corporations and start-ups in highly regulated industries, including healthcare, biotechnology and manufacturing.
Q: Have you identified a methodology for managing a move, whether big or small?
A: Of course, each move is different, but in my experience, most moves encompass two paths: a physical move (usually an address change) and a cultural one (a disruptive mindset shift in the way employees work and collaborate). Your strategy must include both paths because one without the other will produce either a logistics nightmare or a ho-hum, business-as-usual result, both of which would be epic fails.
Q: What’s one of the greatest communication challenges leaders face when organizing a move?
A: Capturing the hearts and minds of people—starting with themselves—to make the move a success. As a communications professional, your responsibility is to equip leaders with the necessary tools to help them understand how their attitude can make or break employee acceptance. Once leaders understand positive momentum starts with them, implementing the communications strategy goes from being a series of challenges to multiple opportunities to engage and connect teams.
Q: Can you share an example of a critical move communications moment?
A: It’s the “aha” moment when people go from resisting the change to embracing it. It’s usually a subtle shift, but when you’re involved in the process from the beginning, you see how all your communication and integration efforts can bring the group dynamic from a grumpy “we don’t want to go” to an exuberant “we never want to leave.”
Q: Preparing for a move can be an overwhelming task for business leaders. Do you have any suggestions on how they can get started?
A: Yes, I do. The first thing you must do is build the basics. Articulate the business case on why your organization is moving. Doing so will help you develop messaging, create toolkits to equip leaders, and plan your dialog loop with employees. Next, scale the strategy. Put your communications plan into action, and create a team of ambassadors to engage employees and share enthusiasm. Measure the impact of your tactics, recalibrate your strategy, and if needed, measure again. And last but not least, celebrate the success. Keep up the momentum with continued dialog. Administer a post-move survey, host a grand opening event, build community ties, and most importantly—thank people for their efforts.