Find the number of a specific division or office to contact them directly or call Service Tasmania on 1300 135 513.
Use the Tasmanian Government Directory to find staff contact details
Follow our social media accounts to keep up to date with specific programs and initiatives.
Almost every book or article about change says that a key role for organisational leaders in change is to communicate. But what exactly does this mean?
When leading change, you need to seek out every opportunity to explain why change is necessary and explain how things will be (or are becoming) better as a consequence of the changes. If information about an aspect of the change is not known, or cannot yet be shared, explain that this is the case.
Communicating about the changes just once is not nearly enough. Not everyone will hear, understand or accept information the first time they are given it. Repeating the same information over and over increases the chance for employees to hear, understand and accept the information when they are ready to do so. When you feel that you are communicating ‘about three times as much’ as you thought you would need to, then you are probably getting it right. Developing a communication plan is an excellent way of identifying what, who, why to communicate the change with.
For more information visit the Change Toolkit page for factsheets & templates.
Remember that communication is not about talking. It is about developing a common understanding through a conversation. One of the things that gets in the way of developing a common understanding is that what employees hear is filtered by what they believe and already understand. In a change situation, everyone’s first concern is likely to be ‘what does this mean for me?’ This is the filter through which they will take in and make sense of the information provided to them. It is also the basis upon which employees will fill any gaps in the information they have been provided with.
Change programs need regular messages that are simple, consistent, and delivered by leaders who have a strong understanding of the change initiative. Generally employees are not afraid of the unknown. They are afraid of the unexplained. A true leader shines a light on the road ahead to help others see where they are going.
Just as you should take every opportunity to explain the change, you should also take every opportunity for people (employees and other key stakeholders) to tell you about how they see the change. Because of your position in the organisation, some employees may be uncomfortable volunteering information about the change to you. It is important that you invite them to share their insights with you by asking questions. Useful questions at different stages of the change include:
What you are listening for in the responses are not just the overt answers to your questions, but also evidence of misunderstanding, confusion and resentment.
One of the most common mistakes leaders make is to stop communicating about the change as soon as the first change activities have commenced. It is important that you keep communicating about the change until you are convinced - and there is compelling evidence to confirm this view - that the change has been adopted to such an extent that it will not be undone. The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.
Communication is different from consultation. Both are important during organisational change.
Communication is all about keeping information flowing in all directions through the organisation and throughout the entire change process for example, leaders telling employees what is happening and why, and employees telling leaders what is happening and why.
By contrast, consultation is about asking employees for their ideas about how to plan and implement the change-for example, leaders may ask employees about how the organisation could be structured to achieve better client outcomes. Or leaders may ask employees about when a new ICT data system should come on line so that it has greatest chance of success.
Both communication and consultation involve asking questions. With communication, the questions are focused on checking understanding. With consultation, the questions are focused on ‘what do you think we should do?’
|Specify the nature of the change|
Avoid generalised statements and overviews. Employees need to understand the specifics and how it affects the way they do their work.
|Explain the 'why'||Explain the business, socio-political or organisational reasons for the change. It may take some detective work, but understanding the reason will help employees buy-in to the change.|
|Explain the impact of change, both good and bad||Some employees may be adversely affected by the change, so being open about the positive as well as the more challenging aspects helps them to consider their options. It also helps minimise the impact of speculation and gossip.|
|Develop creative communication||Don’t just rely on one method of communication. Using a range of methods will ensure you connect with everyone, regardless of their preferred style of communicating.|
|Manage the negatives||As negatives occur, make sure they are promptly addressed and managed.|
|Explain what success looks like||People need to work towards the future vision. Be clear about what success will look like and how people will know when they are moving towards it|
Explain the ‘what’s in it for me’
Identify the benefits for each individual in the new world. Benefits may be on a personal, professional or job-related level.
Employees take time to engage with new messages and they may not be ready to take information on board the first time it is presented. Follow up your communications with additional reinforcing communication, giving employees every opportunity to question and understand the message.
|Make communication two-way|
A key part of employee's motivation will stem from their ability to be involved. Provide the opportunity for feedback, discussion and debate, even if you don’t have all the answers. It will always be appreciated.
Most employees will understand that change impacts may still give rise to legitimate concerns such as how will this affect my job; my projects; and my work colleagues. It is therefore important to listen carefully to employees as well as regularly give responsive and consistent messages. Remember that employees are different and will listen at different times depending on their circumstances and state of mind.
There are five steps that can create a positive workplace:
High performing workplaces have an environment that practices open communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect their work and workplace. The involvement of employees in matters that affect them or that they can affect is an important strategy in maintaining an environment where they feel motivated, supported and connected.
Open communication can also provide a sound platform for performance planning, continuous improvement and risk management. This includes regular feedback, recognition and acknowledgement of the contributions of employees. It is also important to clearly communicate individual and team priorities and clearly defined objectives; this will reduce the potential for ambiguity in job performance.
Employee engagement in an organisation is the commitment to the purpose, vision and values and in feeling a sense of ownership in the service that they provide. Employees are engaged in the success of an organisation when they 'feel, think and act like owners'. This is achieved through the development of trusting workplace relationships, supporting growth and development for employees, encouraging open communication, utilising positive reinforcement, ensuring involvement and creating a positive environment. This helps employees feel the contribution that they make as an individual within our Agency to the overall provision of a service to the community is valued.
Employee engagement provides considerable outcomes for an organisation, not only in the level of service provision but also in the level of commitment. Tapping into the discretionary effort of employees is a very significant resource. Discretionary effort is the inclination of many people/employees, when given the opportunity to work in a supportive, focused environment, to work over and above the bare minimum requirements. These are the employees that take personal pride from their work whether they are being measured or not.
The level of motivation and commitment that engaged employees bring to an organisation assists significantly in the retention of these dedicated people.
Employees with a positive attitude are more motivated, show initiative, contribute positively and take performing well in the workplace more seriously. They are more open to the performance management process, and more likely to participate in a positive way.
Negative employees do the minimum to get by. They don't have a lot of drive, and they don't take a lot of initiative. They are not concerned about their work performance, or likely to react positively to performance management.
How a person perceives or understands their environment is a significant influence on how they respond to or behave in their environment. Employee attitudes are often a direct consequence of their perceptions of their workplace.
The behaviour and level of communication of leaders and managers in the organisation is vital to how employees perceive their workplace, and therefore a critical factor in employee attitudes. Employees who can trust their leaders are more likely to have positive perceptions and experiences of their workplace. Leaders and managers:
Generally, if employees are in the right position and in the right environment, they will be more likely to feel motivated and subsequently will not underachieve on purpose. Any errors are then more likely to be genuine mistakes, errors of judgment or systems failure, rather than poor performance or misconduct. An open, safe workplace environment is one that is accepting of mistakes as an opportunity to learn, rather than a situation, which causes blame. This is more likely to foster a culture of trust and engagement rather than a negative, unproductive culture of blame, where mistakes are covered up rather than remedied and learnt from. Problems are also going to be more containable if they are addressed and remedied as they occur, rather than covered up to emerge at some future point where resolution is less effective.
In instances where things go wrong in the workplace, it is important to address the situation in light of the lessons that can be learnt in order to improve future performance, rather than going over past mistakes to allocate blame.
Notwithstanding the above information, some mistakes do recur frequently enough that they need to be handled more seriously.
Managers are often handed talking points and asked to convey key messages to employees. For this communication to be effective some preparation is critical. Here are guidelines to follow:
When leading a team briefing your role is to encourage dialogue, build consensus and gain commitment. Here’s how:
If you feel unsure about what to cover in your next team briefing, here are some questions employees are nearly always interested in hearing about:
Please use the menu below to find out more about managing change.