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No one likes to communicate unsettling news; yet in internal communications, that can be part of the job.

In the case of major change in the organization, it’s important for those of us working in internal communications to be very careful with tone, design and manner in which our messages are delivered. We have found the following “dos” and “don’ts” to be very helpful:

DO have senior leadership be visible to employees; walk around and stay connected.

DO have leaders offer support when needed.

DO listen to employees with empathy.

DO ensure that employees feel heard and understood.

DO keep your messages positive yet realistic – acknowledge that change can feel unsettling.

DO be respectful of each person’s process of dealing with change.

DON’T be patronizing or vague.

DON’T make overly ambitious promises.

DON’T express only excitement and enthusiasm.

DON’T ignore any potential downsides.

DON’T tell employees that “they just need to get on-board.”

By following these few simple “dos and don’ts” of change communication, we can help employees understand and eventually embrace a company transformation.