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Communications in Change

BCG’s approach to communicating change incorporates open-source engagement alongside traditional methods.

Change efforts have traditionally involved one-way, leader-driven communications that become lost in the high volume of unfiltered messages. A fresh approach is sorely needed. BCG has learned that focused engagement, which allows employees to co-create change alongside leaders, is critical to success. In fact, change efforts are three times more effective if co-created by employees. 

BCG’s new approach to communication enables organizations to inclusively engage and empower employees in co-creating a change. Our new approach is based on five communication principles:

  • Leaders communicate the change. Leaders give the initiative credibility by showing their alignment. They must be able to communicate the change vision and story with “one voice.”
  • Communications are tailored and personal. Messages (and the channels on which they are sent) are tailored to different stakeholder needs.
  • The conversation is inclusive, and goes both ways. A multi-way dialogue allows leaders and employees to connect personally, and drives transparency and engagement.
  • Communication is done in real-time. Communication governance and channels allow real-time interactions and help leaders respond when it matters most.
  • Messages are data-driven: Analytics aid leaders in identifying hot topics. They should flow into the communication plan on an iterative basis, to inform about segments of support or resistance.

Our approach to communication is done in three key steps:

  1. Develop the change story and build leadership alignment.  Define the change vision and case for change, create your change story with key messages, and solidify leadership alignment.
  2. Identify and engage with key stakeholders. Segment stakeholders, identify the stakeholders that require different types of communication, and identify your change champions.
  3. Plan, govern, and cascade messages. Develop detailed messages and establish channels according to your audience, determine communication mechanisms timelines, and create a governance process for managing the communications. Then identify your cascade model and incorporate it into the plan, outlining engagement and behavior change plans as needed, and continuing to iterate on the plan based on feedback loops (like our Ready, Willing and Able survey).

The three key steps align with the five communication principles to enable clients to respond to new trends and take engagement to the next level.

Today’s work environment is fast-paced, technology-focused, and transparent. Cascading messages from the top-down is still critical, but it’s not enough. Communications must also encourage dialogue at all levels of the organization, and align internal business functions with external customers.

In an increasingly digital world, it is critical to involve employees in the change process.  As you consider different communication mechanisms, use a mix of traditional and open-source engagement channels. Consider new and innovative digital platforms, like employee engagement and communication applications, to enable open-source engagement and provide the opportunity for employees to co-create the change. 

With a focus on digital communication and engagement tools to complement or replace traditional mechanisms, BCG is at the forefront of change communication trends with concrete answers to client needs.

BCG’s Experts in Communicating Change

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  • Leads BCG’s global work in change management
  • Program management
  • Enablement
  • Digital transformation
  • Change management
  • Operations in biopharma, medtech, and consumer packaged goods
  • Large-scale change and transformation
  • Operating model
  • Human resources strategy and effectiveness
  • Talent management and leadership effectiveness
  • Change management and transformation
  • Postmerger integration (PMI)
Change Management
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