Our accounting firm is growing -- from a staff of 25 to 50 in three years --and will merge with another accounting firm this summer, pushing employmentbetween 75 and 80 people. We did some strategic planning about three years agothat is largely responsible for our growth. I'm looking for an effective way tointroduce new staff to our corporate mission statement and, more importantly,help them internalize the meaning behind the words. How could we incorporatethis into our orientation program?
-- Growing in Red Deer, Human resources manager, finance/insurance/realestate, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
A Dear Red Deer:
Rapid growth, followed by a merger and acquisition, can result in significantuncertainty and confusion with your workforce. Change is here to stay, and tosurvive we must all understand it, embrace it, and learn to use it to ouradvantage.
One area that still seems to be overlooked during organizational change,however, is communication. Clear, frequent, accurate and timely communicationduring change can determine the success or failure of the change event.
Creating and implementing a vision or mission statement is a critical step inthe change management process. Yes, it is important to articulate a clearmission for the organization, and yes, it is necessary to check individualemployee alignment to the organization's goals and values. But communicating themission statement is only one step in the process.
An effective communication plan can help minimize the doubt and fear thatuncertainty and frequent change can generate. Individuals want to be involved inthe change and transition process and understand what is happening to them.There is an increased need for information. A well-conceived communicationprogram can ease the uncertainty associated with change, and help the company toachieve its goals.
It is critical to identify appropriate communication vehicles -- and tomaintain a constant flow of information throughout the transition period.Closed-circuit television, newsletters, employee bulletin boards, and employeealumni magazines all should be utilized and maximized. Although it is importantto cover all "normal" communications channels -- since that is wherepeople usually look for information -- new channels may need to be created. Youalso should be aware that the messages conveyed be simple and consistent, andthat they speak directly to the employees.
Your organization's mission statement is the foundation on which you havebuilt your image and objectives. It is important that all employees, both newand old, be very familiar and comfortable with it. Using this opportunity oforganizational change is the ideal time to refresh the message in all employees'minds. Instead of alienating the new employees, you may want to set up timeswhen mixed groups of new and old employees meet and review the missionstatement. You should offer them the opportunity to ask questions or providetheir feedback about it, as it is important that everyone in the company feelsconnected to the message and committed to meeting its objectives.
By bringing together the new and old employees to discuss the main goals andvalues of the organization, you not only will be reassuring that everyoneunderstands them but also build a sense of camaraderie between the two groupsbased on that understanding. You also may find that the dialogue created leadsto a refreshed enthusiasm to ensure that the organization's mission statement isfulfilled.
SOURCE: Tom Silveri, CEO & president, Drake Beam Morin, New York, N.Y.,May 15, 2001.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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