Communications and policies
The Management Standards approach requires the participation and input of different groups of employees. Effective communications play a vital part in engaging with employees providing them with timely information and also providing a conduit for their views. This last point, the need to listen to the views of employees, is important as it is something that is often overlooked in communication initiatives.
Many users have developed a 'communication strategy' to run throughout their implementation of the Management Standards approach. The communications strategy typically includes consideration of 'what' will be communicated 'how' and the 'timing' of the communication activities.
What to communicate
What information is communicated will to some extent depend on your organisations structure and the way you choose to implement each step of the Management Standards approach. Some of the information that is often communicated is as follows:
- project objectives & terms of reference
- the project plan
- timetable for employee involvement (surveys, focus groups etc)
- names of steering group members
- how to volunteer to participate in activities
- nominated contact person for the project
- results from staff surveys
- action plans
- progress updates
"Open and honest communication was vital to the long term success of the project."
How to communicate
The methods used to communicate information to employees needs to consider what access each group of workers will have to any particular method. What needs to be considered is both the ease of the method and more importantly its effectiveness. The golden rule is not to use a single method of communication use multiple channels and ensure the message is rich in content. The list below includes methods of communication you might want to consider:
- Briefings via existing networks (team meetings etc)
- Intranet bulletin board
- Notice boards
- Existing staff newsletters
- Individual memos or letters
"We intended to use email but when we checked with IT they told us only about 60% of staff had actually accessed their email accounts in the last six months!"
Timing of communications
The judgement of when is the appropriate time to communicate information to employees will need to be considered as part of a communication strategy. An important point to consider is that whatever schedule you decide, 'stick to it'. Leaving an information vacuum can seriously undermine a project as the vacuum will be quickly filled with rumours and misinformation that may be hard to counter.
"A 'rumour handler' was appointed who was trusted by staff and could be contacted to check the validity of the current rumour."