Just as Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, the only thing constant is change itself, the same goes for the world of health communications consultants.
With the recent post-election shake-up of the Australian health and ageing sector, health reform and role restructuring, now more than ever, it is vital to refresh those change communications skills as we face uncertainty in the sector.
This need is particularly great for the aged care industry, which is possibly making the biggest change of all; shifting from one federal department to another – changing the strategic focus, positioning and budgetary concerns as well.
For those facing hard-hitting changes, here are three tips to help you get through these uncertain times:
1) Do it yourself
As an employer, supervisor or manager, you have a responsibility to let your staff know what changes are being made – yourself. Regardless of what changes have been made, they will be received a hundred times better if they come from you directly. And no, I’m not talking about a group email – if possible, a personal face-to-face meeting is preferred.
2) Communicate change as soon as possible
Ever heard the saying sooner rather than later? No one likes a surprise or to be told by someone else along the grapevine – or worse, read about it in the paper. Make sure to give staff or colleagues as much notice as possible of the changes that will be implemented, allowing for time to help them adjust and to answer any feedback or concerns they may have about the issue.
3) Visibility, visibility and guess what? More visibility!
I can’t possibly stress more the importance of visibility when dealing with change, or anything for that matter. If change is your friend, visibility is your best friend. Visibility ensures that messaging cannot be construed and that though the news that you delivering may not be good-news, that you understand how they’re feeling and what they’re going through.
Though it may sound like a cliché, communication is certainly key.