Change communication

We live in a world where change is inevitable. Terms like “agile” and “adaptability” have become a part of our everyday language, especially when it comes to jobs and workplaces. However, one thing is the change in itself, another is how to communicate change correctly, clearly, and precisely to avoid confusion and dissatisfaction among employees. That’s why change communication is an art form!

Daily routines are changed – and that can be more difficult to adjust to for some employees. For a lot of people change is scary, so it’s very important that your change management meet the employees’ uncertainty and doubts. Here it can be a good idea to introduce new ways to introduce changes, for example by using some creative methods like games.

Effective change communication: think outside of the standard communication channels

There are a lot of ways in which the company’s change can be introduced. Articles, newsletters, internal campaigns, and emails are just a small segment of the possibilities. These do however all fit into the category of mass communication, which doesn’t allow for the audience to ask questions. Effective change communication depends on using more than just the standard communication channels.

One of the less traditional yet great ways to introduce change is through games and business simulations. Games have some unique abilities which are almost impossible to reach through the more traditional communication formats due to the way we approach games being fundamentally different from mass communication. In part because games for many aren’t usually used in professional settings.

In games, participants are usually more willing to lower their guards because games are naturally playful and therefore feel less threatening to our surroundings. This allows for a greater learning output and makes us more welcoming to change.

Learning games as a tool for successful change communication

One of the difficult aspects of change communication is getting the employee group to know of and act upon the company’s changes from the beginning of the process. Usually, the implementation of changes brings a stressful transition period where daily life consists of both new and old routines.

Avoiding a transition period entirely of course isn’t possible, but you can ensure that new work-related methods, routines, and operations are well-established for the employee group before the change takes effect. Here games might be an ideal tool to use from your toolbox.

Using games to implement changes gives the employees the possibility to try their hand at the new procedures on a type of training ground. Games can be customised to fit the specific changes of the individual organisation, so the problems put forth within the game is true to the reality and business the employees usually act within. This allows the employees to train how they want to act when they’re facing the changes in real life.

A risk-free environment you can visit again and again

Another aspect of change communication which can be particularly difficult to navigate is the employees’ restraints toward trying new methods. Their fear of making mistakes that might have substantial consequences for the organisation, can in some cases hinder employees in adopting a change project.

Here games can also be a great tool to use as it’s a risk-free training ground. The employees dare to implement bolder initiatives than they would in the real world. If less than optimal initiatives are implemented in the game, then they learn the consequences hereof without it affecting the company.

Games also allow the employees to train the changes as much as they want to. Especially if there are aspects they need to repeat before feeling competent to handle the upcoming changes.

Showcases: Custom learning games for implementing a new business strategy

At Copenhagen Game Lab we develop and customise games that are based on the challenges of the individual companies – like change, implementation, and communicating change. The game becomes a specific suggestion for a solution that takes abstract terms and procedures and makes them more tangible. We’ve collected some showcases below that give a decent insight into what custom learning games can do when it comes to change communication. Like when a new business strategy needs to be implemented. Every game can be adjusted for your specific development target.

Unit Cost Game was originally developed for Novo Nordisk. The game’s purpose was to train employees to understand an important and very complex key term, unit cost.

A game like Unit Cost Game can be customised for your business and be based on a different key term, which is important for your employees to know completely – where they understand how actions and adjustments impact the bigger picture and the company.

We developed the custom game 5 Big Bets in collaboration with the Danish insurance company, Topdanmark. The game’s focused on communicating a new business strategy and the benefits hereof in a tangible way. Here it was essential to create a strategy game where the employees had to retain customers while also getting new customers to the company. During the game, the employees were introduced to different initiatives that could optimise operations – where one of them was the new strategy that Topdanmark was going to implement. Doing this made the entire decision process clear and understandable to the employees.

In the VIA game – which was originally developed for BDO Auditing and Accounting – you focus on a “winner culture”. Here the employees discuss and reflect upon the winner culture – while getting the management’s expectations to change specified.

Learning games like these create a forum where employees show up to understand the messages of change completely.

Why are change management and change communication important?

Effective communication is one of the most important base elements in everything we’re doing. If you as a company are going through changes, the communication needs to be effective if the organisational change is to be introduced and implemented effectively. The most important thing is that you have a communication plan, to begin with when the restructuring happens.

It’s also important that the business communication gives motivation – while ensuring that the employees easily can feel the vision and get a more emotionally driven engagement – that will in the end increase the learning process and thus also the implementation. Change communication is about communicating a change mindset – and in contrast to other internal communication, change communication is about talking to the employees’ emotions.

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