How to Make New Office Policy Conversations Less Awkward

It happens in workplaces all the time. Employees arrive at the office on Monday morning, drop by the company break room to grab their favorite daily beverage, and there on the bulletin board in all its blazing glory is a posted policy change that goes into effect immediately.

Or worse yet, a company leader sends an email message zipping into cyberspace and expects everyone to get on board with no questions asked and no input accepted. Audible sighs of exasperation and signs of poor morale generally follow these scenarios.

So, why do companies keep making this big mistake when it comes to rolling out a new office policy? Isn’t there a better way?

Change, when handled well, can be a welcome thing in any work environment. But as humans, we often anticipate change with some degree of fear. This makes policy changes and updates a difficult thing to manage. In fact, it can be downright awkward to even talk about for many managers. Faced with push-back from employees who do not agree with the policy change, and the HR team goes into a frenzy trying to smooth things over.

The good news is that there are some steps your business can take to reduce the awkwardness, the fear, and the negativity that comes with communicating policy changes.

#1 – Make Communications a Regular Part of Your Culture

If you have an open dialogue between members of management and employees, this makes communication easier. Your workforce understands that change happens, but when left in the dark this increases suspicion and fears. Make it a policy that all teams regularly meet to discuss anything that may be happening in the near future, and an open door commitment to keeping the lines open. This also supports early adoption of new requirements.

#2 – Prepare and Position Change Messages

As part of your commitment to your people, you will want to have a consistent way of preparing policy changes for all. Form a partnership between leaders of the company, the human resource department, and the marketing team to prepare and position any messaging before it goes out to the masses.

#3 – Create a Centralized Message Delivery System

Employees may be pulled in several different directions at once. This can cause a breakdown in the connection between their efforts and the changes that are taking place at the office.  To better streamline communications for all, deliver them via a centralized system that all employees will visit and acknowledge. This can be as simple as a company SharePoint CMS, via an email sent directly by the CEO of the company, or a printed notice handed out at weekly staff meetings. Just keep it consistent and have the HR department vet any questions or concerns directly.

Remember, employees like to know that any change will benefit their individual role as well as the company. Connect the change to their value by listening to them (more than talking) and allowing them to share their personal input whenever possible. This makes your job easier as the bearer of a new policy update.