Communication is key to the success of any service management initiative. To reach your return on investment goals, you need to influence your team and your customers’ attitudes and behaviours. Investing your time and energy into planning is well worth it. Communication is a cornerstone of obtaining employee buy-in for any change. Studies have shown that developing a comprehensive plan can result in being six times more likely to succeed with your initiative.
What are the secrets to a great communication plan?
Creating a comprehensive plan that defines stakeholders, key messaging for each stakeholder group and communication delivery methods is an important first step toward success.
As noted, communications should be defined for each stakeholder group. The key objective for your communications should be to promote awareness and to influence each stakeholder to take the actions necessary for the change to be successful.
Your communications should paint a meaningful picture of the vision. It should reflect the value proposition for each stakeholder group. If your ITSM initiative will result in minimising the existing silos, or perhaps moving software changes into the environment faster, provide examples in your communications and tie the examples directly to the benefits for the stakeholder group.
Sometimes stakeholders are motivated based on who delivers the message. Incorporate trusted leaders into your communications plan by asking them to deliver key messages at various meetings or writing articles for a newsletter or intranet site.
Leaders are often considered to be in management, but leaders can be frontline IT staff who are trusted and respected by their co-workers. Encourage frontline leaders to help with specific communications that relate to what is changing in their environment.
Be sure you communicate early and communicate often. Plan for communications that initially explain why the changes are occurring and then continue with communications that update stakeholders on the progress of the initiative throughout the project.
When the changes are implemented, your communications should include metrics that reflect both successes and challenges. Be transparent regarding unexpected outcomes in order to continue to build trust and support for the initiative.
Throughout the communications planning process and the execution of the plan, engage those affected by the changes. Include information in the communications regarding how to provide feedback and encourage suggestions for improving the intended outcomes of your service management initiative.
The goal of your communications plan should be to define communications that not only promote awareness but reduce the fear, uncertainty and doubt that will exist regarding the changes associated with your service management initiative. A comprehensive plan takes time to develop and execute, but strong communications will help to garner support and improve the opportunity for IT to recognise the return on investment initially expected.
This is a guest post written by Pamela Erksine, author of ‘ITIL and Organizational Change‘. Pamela was recently a guest on the IT Governance Podcast, when she spoke about her book, what encouraged her to write it, and how it can help ITSM professionals. You can listen to her podcast below.