Getting the message across: Communication strategies for successful TMC change
No matter who you ask, everyone involved in change management will have a different response to this question: “What’s the most difficult part of the change process?” But mention communication, and suddenly everyone will agree. Ugh.
What makes us special as humans is our ability to communicate, so why is it often a struggle in the change process? The truth is you can boil down communication issues to one thing: lack of personalization. Most change projects have a strategy of send it fast, en masse. But this is far from the most effective way to communicate your change to your stakeholders, champions, and wider organization.
So, pull up a seat, and step away from the send button. Let’s get your change comms back on track with these tips from our change experts at FCM Consulting.
Tip #1: Divide your comms up by persona
Depending on who they are within your organization, your TMC change is going to affect them in different ways – so your communications strategy needs to differ as well.
Divide up your audience by their involvement with your change, for example, C-suite stakeholders, IT, finance, HR, travel team leaders, travel bookers, frequent travellers, and general employee list. Then, identify what they care the most about concerning your change project. Here some sample scenarios:
C-suite stakeholders generally don’t care about the minutia of project management. Keep communications to major milestone announcements and benchmark results.
IT wants to know about what integrations they’ll need to facilitate and what APIs they may need to expose. Keep them in the loop around the project plan, testing, and go-live.
Travel bookers will need some of the most hands-on support, with live and recorded training on your new TMC’s technology, booking processes, support, and more. Make sure to send out regular updates on training, interesting facts and tidbits about your new TMC and tech, and provide them with job aids.
General employees that don’t travel often will still need to know about the change. They may not travel a lot now, but that could also change. A new TMC often ushers in a new expense process as well, so the entire organization will need to know the new reimbursement policy and process.
Travellers will also need training and guidance, and they’ll need to be excited and motivated to use the new tech and TMC customer service. Remember this simple phrase: What’s in it for me? That’s your drive for traveller comms. Emphasize how this change will make their lives and business travel simpler.
Tip #2: Mix up your communication channels
Email is great – that’s why it’s still the main communication method for internal and external communication. But when trying to hit all the marks with your TMC change comms, you need to cover all your internal channels and tailor your messaging to that platform. Here are a few examples to think on:
Your internal collaboration platform (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc.) is one of the best places to send out communications because your teams use it constantly to communicate. Most Collaboration platforms let you schedule messages, set up automations, and create channels for specific topics. Consider setting up a new-TMC-updates channel that employees can join to stay up to date.
Most companies have an Intranet where employees can access company information like time-off policies, event schedules, and more. This is another perfect place to post updates and link out to relevant information about your new TMC and timelines.
Many employees are still working in the office at least part time, so hang up some flyers and FAQ posters about your new TMC and change timeline in high-traffic areas (kitchen/cafeteria, bathrooms, meeting rooms, etc.). Just make sure you print your posters and flyers on recycled paper and recycle them afterward!
Tip #3: Have a little personality
Travel is about people, as is change management, so it’s extremely important to approach TMC change from a human perspective. One of the best ways to engage your organization with your change process is to inject excitement and personality into your communications. Come up with a name and them for your change process, and collaborate with marketing to come up with messaging and graphics. Approaching your internal change comms like an external marketing campaign can really get the creative juices flowing.
A great example of this can be found in our case study with Toyota North America. They branded their TMC change as Travel Reimagined. This gave their transition to FCM a theme and personality from the very start.
Read it here, there, and everywhere
Change is complex, but communication doesn’t need to be. Dividing your comms up by persona, channel, and adding in some personality can really take your strategy from checking boxes to changing minds.
Persona-based change really works! Read a real-life FCM success story here.
“The part of the process that really made the client's change so successful was the detailed communication plan, and it's where FCM's alternative energy really shined. By tailoring communications to persona, region, language, and more, we ensured everyone was engaged from the get-go.”
- Ben Johnson, Director of Customer Strategy, FCM
Get the DL on solution design
If your interest is piqued, we have more for you to discover around solution design with corporate travel change management. Check out our Change Management Hub today – it’s packed full of resources such as case studies, bite-sized blogs, and our full-length (and free) change management eBook.