Developing a Staff Communication Plan for an Office Move
Employees are vital to organizational success. Developing a solid staff communication plan is critical for ensuring staff morale and engagement remain strong during an office move. In addition, if the relocation is long-distance, employee communication will be essential in helping to convince top performers to move with the organization.
Develop a plan and begin communicating the move to employees early — as soon as you know, you will move. Decide the different ways you’ll communicate with employees and establish a communications timeline.
Appoint a manager to be in charge of the employee communications effort. The person you choose should be an organizer, an effective communicator, and people-oriented. Consider also appointing move champions in each work area.
Moving can be tricky, especially if employees need to relocate. Check employment contracts, union contracts, and labor law to ensure you know the requirements and take those into account in your plan.
Plan to Listen
Be sure your plan includes scheduled one-on-ones with employees. Use the sessions to listen to their concerns. If you want the employee to relocate with you, find ways to alleviate concerns and discuss relocation packages at the meeting.
Also, include group listening and question and answer sessions in your plan. Designate one or two people who will be available to answer staff questions every day as they arise.
Develop Key Messages
Develop key messages to use when you’re communicating about the move. Will it be good for business, for example? Is it convenient for public transportation? Also, anticipate and answer questions about what precipitated the move. For example, is the new location less expensive? Is it closer to customers?
Use precise language and be honest. For example, is your relocation simply a change of location for your company, or will a reorganization be part of it? If the move is long-distance, will all employees be invited to relocate, and what packages will the company offer them?
As soon as you know move logistics, communicate those as well. Employees will be less stressed if they know exactly how the move will happen and what is expected from them.
Use various methods in addition to emails to communicate with employees, including large meetings, one-on-one, team briefings, noticeboards, newsletters, videos, and the company Intranet. Provide regular updates using the same methods.
Remember that everyone learns information differently. For example, some are visual learners, others aural, and others social learners.
Involve the Staff
Involve the staff in the move every way you can. For example, give them opportunities to provide feedback on the design or select the meeting rooms’ names. Allow them to make choices about their workspace.
Develop Welcome Packets
Provide welcome packets to familiarize employees with the area around the new location. Provide maps of the area, with the company location marked. Also, provide places for amenities, such as the post office, gyms, eateries, child care, and banks. Also, provide information on public transportation and parking.
Plan for the Moving Weekend
Most moves occur on weekends. Send out reminders on Friday, specifying expectations for packing up. Remind employees of the new location on Friday and again on Sunday.
Follow-up Post Move
Remember to include check-ins with employees post-move to see how they are settling in. Use various methods such as one-on-one, team meetings, and meetings with move champions.
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