For any change management professional, it is imperative that business and project stakeholders receive regular communications and updates on the change initiative being driven. Visualising a change management plan and associated campaign artefacts allows for effective engagement and communication; something that information designers are well-aware of. However, for many change management practitioners, the use of professional creative information design may be a relatively foreign concept. Why visualise, when one can simply write one might ask? According to research, the human brain grasps and retains information almost instantly when it is delivered visually, because 90% of the information sent to our brains is visual.
Change can be an extremely stressful event, especially for those directly impacted. So, by visualising change communications for impacted stakeholders, one can tell a story to help lead them through this journey of change. The guidelines below aim to guide change professionals wishing to explore more creative visual ways of engaging their stakeholders, in creating clear, concise visual communications in aid of increased awareness and understanding of the change initiative.
1. What needs to be communicated?
The point of departure should be the main message being communicated. Time spent with project sponsors and owners to extract the correct and concise message is vital in making the message to the end user as clear as possible. The message can be communicated to the impacted stakeholders through dashboards, roadmaps, a case for change or an infographic.
2. Sending brainwaves isn’t going to cut it
Decide on the best medium to communicate the information through. If at any stage one is unsure, engage with the stakeholders and management at the organisation as to how they would prefer to be communicated with. i.e. posters, SMS, email, etc. By speaking “their language” one can reduce the risk of resistance and increase the potential for smooth adoption. This information could be gathered by running a survey or poll.
3. Name IT, label IT… call IT something
Provide some form of identity to the change initiative at the organisation. This will help individuals resonate with the change that is occurring. Brainstorm ideas with the team or run a competition, this sort of engagement will be appreciated in the long run resulting in buy-in early on in the process. Involving impacted individuals in the process will also get them to feel part of the process and not merely forced into the change.
4. Keep it short and sweet
Once a project identity has been established, create clear concise information that will be easy to understand. Use the preferred medium and send out high level information through bite size communications. Small snippets of important information will be well received and not overwhelming, making it easier to comprehend. If one makes use of any data or statistics in the created content, make sure the data is relevant and easy to understand. Any misunderstanding of the content could result in the impacted individuals becoming nervous or afraid of the changes taking place in the organisation.
5. Planning - breathing life into your story
Sketch out a basic idea that illustrates the best way to create meaningful communications. This will save on the design time required when creating the visual communication. This step should assist the designer in creating a minimum of two concepts that will be able to grow as the project unfolds. Keep the design relevant to the change. These concepts should then be presented to the sponsor as their buy-in to the concepts will allow for a successful project rollout. The sponsor will also be able to see the value in the work that the change professional will be putting into place.
6. Information with purpose
Include the most important information as the highlight of the topic. This could be the purpose of the change or the impact on the individual. The main information for the artwork, should be placed at the top. Using visuals such as infographics to deliver complex content helps the individual visualise and interpret the information better. Be mindful of the balance needed between visual information and written information. Avoid text heavy content by highlighting statistics or important data. The greatest strength of an infographic is its flow. Arranging content according to the hierarchy using headlines, numbering and colour coding helps to create clear and concise sections, resulting in the flow required for infographics.
7. Keep them posted
One can continue with regular visual communications with impacted stakeholders through updates on go-live dates, project successes and other relevant project information. These could be communicated with posters, intranet banners and screensavers to name a few.
If you would like to view a downloadable infographic guide that provides a visualisation of this article, please click on the link below:
Additionally, we have created a similar downloadable infographic guide that can be shared with your own design team, please click on the link below: