Emails are the easy way to communicate, but they are limited when it comes to making sustainable changes to behaviour.
Effective communication during times of change requires;
1. a culture that recognises that change impacts everyone,
2. a readiness to change and
3. a communication strategy that everyone buys into.
Make sure the leader or faculty head is highly involved and visible. They must clearly communicate and understand the reason for the change. Above all, they must be ready to answer employees when they ask, “What does this mean for me?”
A point of importance is that communication is largely nonverbal. Start with setting up a time to meet together; truly effective communication happens face-to-face, when people can see and hear a message and respond with qualifying questions.
Emails can be used to follow up the face to face encounter, but are not the best channel to update colleagues. New technologies such as ZOOM, Go to Meetings and Skype are alternatives that address the need to see and hear messages firsthand. They can be useful when it is impossible to get your team together in the same room, however it is not ideal.
The tertiary education sector is not alone when it comes to change and there can be pressure to resort to emails for the sake of time efficiency, especially since everyone always seems to be “on call” and expected to “do more with less”.
It is important to remember that change matters – even small changes in organisations can affect people in real, everyday ways. Make sure how you communicate reflects the fact you care about what happens to your team.