Public relations is an integral part of organizations today. However, PR is mostly considered an asset to convey the right message to the external world. This could entail conveying big organizational changes or even crisis management. But it is often overlooked that PR can be an asset to handling internal change management as well.
PR professionals are experts in strategizing and communicating changes positively and give your organization the harmony and acceptance to change that it needs. This can happen due to several different reasons. Maybe your organizational structure is undergoing a huge change, there are rumors of a merger and acquisition, or maybe there is a crisis that is destined to come your way.
Whatever the case might be, organizational change affects employees. Therefore, PR can be your undisputed partner in this process.
Change management and PR
Essentially, change management is the process of ensuring the change in organizational goal, process, structure, or technology happens seamlessly.
While changes in an organization are essential, change management is also essential to ensure smooth transitions and quicker change acceptance. This acceptance is not limited to external stakeholders, change is tough on internal stakeholders, especially if it affects their day-to-day processes and jobs.
Most importantly, if you want your employees to be in tandem with your change processes, then you need their unending support. You want your team to speak the same message of change and it is especially true for sensitive changes within the company. You don’t want an employee to innocently make a controversial statement that looks bad on the company.
Answering the question of how to overcome resistance to change can indeed be daunting. This is why change management through PR is crucial.
If PR is the way to effective change management then PR professionals are the change-makers. PR professionals are adept at communicating the process of change and its implementation in the right way to ensure understanding within the company. Their role in change management will make your job of executing the change much easier.
Create customized messages for internal teams’ communication
The messaging that goes out to the internal teams cannot be the same as the one used for external stakeholders. It needs to have more assurance, a tone of understanding, and elaborate communication that leaves no room for miscommunication. PR professionals need to use strategic thinking to ensure they know how to convey the right message. Therefore curating a customized message after understanding the process from the company executives is vital.
Employees are at the core of this process. Identifying the questions they may have, the benefits they will experience and the after-effects of a change must be noted before communicating. You could involve the PR professionals within the company or hire PR teams externally and collaborate with some internal stakeholders to identify the proper messaging.
Addressing change through PR is a definitive way of ensuring common goals across the company without room for mistrust or underlying confusion.
Role of PR professionals
We’ve established that PR professionals are essential to change management. Here is how they ensure change management in the right way:
Adapting change with a purpose
Any change in an organization must have a common purpose. There has to be a company-wide goal that is achieved with that change. PR professionals identify the right purpose and help curate the right message. They help the employees of the organization to adapt to this change and accept it with a newfound positive meaning.
Clear communication for reputation
The onus of communicating the change lies with the PR experts. Additionally, they are responsible for communicating it clearly in a way that honors the company’s reputation and brings forth a positive connection to the change with the employees and external stakeholders.
Active crisis management
PR professionals are constantly on their toes to maintain the brand’s reputation. This is especially handy during a crisis. Maybe there was a piece of scandalous news about a company executive, or a collaboration went sideways, or the servers were hacked. Whatever the case might be, handling it without causing more damage to the company is a priority in such situations.
PR professionals handle such situations by framing the right messages and narratives that defend the company and showcase the company’s good intentions. They also create press releases that explain where the company stands, future actions, and situational corrections if needed.
Change management is employee-driven as much as it is company driven. Therefore, making it inclusive is also important. Here are three ways to ensure it happens.
1. Building trust amongst the team
If you want your employee to be on board with the changes then you need a team that can trust each other. Employees must know they can trust the upper management. Clear communication that provokes a good relationship can help this process.
2. Communication-driven camaraderie
Communication in PR is not one-sided. This means employees have to be able to communicate their concerns and voice their opinions as freely as possible. Their feedback and concerns must be prioritized. When the employees feel heard, change management becomes easy.
3. Employee engagement
There are different kinds of changes that can happen in an organization. Some changes need employees also to convey the changes positively to the outside world. Engaging your employees in such instances can bring an asset to effective PR. This could be encouraging them to leave a good note on social media, sharing company press releases, and more.
This can become easy when the company harnesses the organization-employee relationship well and makes them part of the change management team. Employees will be more positive about the process and will be more enthusiastic about talking about the new goals of the company.
Organizational change with PR is the right way to ensure success
Change can be tough on an organization. Communicating change the right way, and convincing employees of their best interest at heart can be tougher. You don’t want to lose employee trust over a process that wasn’t executed appropriately.
PR professionals understand this well. Making them a part of your team for the change management process will be a decision that can make this process smooth and meaningful for your company. While you already might have a lot to deal with in terms of the change process, communicating this change well with the right message shouldn’t be your burden as well. Hire the right PR professionals and experience a smooth change management process.