Change Management Communications: Case Study 1
Two, billion-dollar firms publicly announced a merger. In their haste to close the deal they neglected to effectively communicate with employees. Rumor and speculation were the primary sources of information. As days passed the workforce became increasingly anxious and fearful. When layoffs were announced anxiety was replaced with anger. Trust was lost. Management had inadvertently created a toxic work place rife with cynicism and skepticism.
The executive leadership team called on us to create and execute a change communications plan to restore management credibility and employee confidence. We encouraged management to apologize for keeping employees in the dark. Management then promised to keep open lines of communication. Further, they explained that the worst was over and committed to being open and transparent about the future. We helped management draft new Mission and Vision statements from which we crafted a new corporate narrative. These gave the new combined company a renewed sense of direction and purpose. We worked with the executive leadership team to make sure those statements aligned with the new entity’s brand, resulting in an inclusive story that soothed feelings of resentment and anxiety.
Together, we created an internal marketing campaign leveraging a variety of mediums (face-to-face, email, websites and social media) to sell employees on the idea that the new entity brought together the best the two companies had to offer. The campaign focused on the message that this “combined culture,” was not the result of simple addition, but a powerful geometric progression that made the “whole greater than the sum of the parts.” We then trained the executive management team to tell their new story with passion and conviction. Their presentation was delivered to employees at a Town Hall meeting at the company’s Silicon Valley Headquarters and streamed live to all of the company’s locations around the world. In addition, the executive leadership team visited every global site using the power of personality for an all-inclusive message.
The distrust and anxiety initially created by a lack of communication, mixed messages, and contradictions dissipated. The clarity of new “Mission” and “Vision” statements ultimately united employees; helping them embrace their new corporate culture and inspiring a renewed ”esprit de corps.”