Emails can be boring to read sometimes. Especially lengthy emails with a lot of detail, but in projects, failure to communicate effectively can become very costly. Here are some ways you can get creative communicating change related to a project or program you manage.
Sending out a Frequently Asked Questions communication can be very helpful. Highlighting the biggest changes, the most important take-aways in short, choppy sections is easier to digest and read than a lengthy corporate communication. You can either gather feedback from a sample group, or you may already know what should be included in the FAQ.
In my practice, sending a FAQ email right before we go live or before a change is most effective. You can also send it out the week of the change to help mitigate questions for the project team/business owner. Here’s an example of a FAQ email for a new corporate card program:
Q: When is this new program going live?
A: Monday, November 4
Q: When do I stop using my old corporate card?
A: Friday, November 1. You should be receiving a new card in the mail between now and that date. If you do not have your new card by November 4, please call [insert number here]
Q: If I have any questions related to the new process, whom do I reach out to?
A: [insert name and email here]
Best practices overview
Instead of your audience creating habits on their own after a change without guidance, recommend some best practices for them to follow.
Keep this high level with 2 – 4 best practices to recommend, such as:
Checking the portal daily to view the following:
- Any changes
- New transactions
Update the portal with any changes on the 1st of each month to:
- Account for any personnel changes on the team
- Update any accounting codes
Another way you can communicate best practices is by stating the best practice and the benefit.
Best practice 1: Checking the portal daily
Benefit: Monitor new transactions as they arise
Best practice 2: Update the portal with any changes on the 1st of each month
Benefit: Maintaining data will ensure accounting errors are avoided
You can pique interest and encourage participation through interactive learning by hosting an interactive quiz. This can be done in person by using a quizzing platform or via a virtual presentation. It can help participants learn while having fun competing against their teammates for the right answers.
Virtual knowledge test
Try hosting a virtual knowledge quiz/test.
Who should I reach out to if I have any questions related to the new corporate card program?
- My manager
- Accounts Payable
- No one
Tip: providing an incentive to participants will increase participation! For example, the first 20 participants receive a project-logo mousepad. The answers to the quiz can be shared in a follow-up communication along with the winner’s names!
Develop a weekly project or program newsletter
The newsletter can have short bits of information everyone should know, along with any tips, tricks, etc. Come up with a catchy name such as:
- Supply Chain Column
- The Business Brochure
- Marketing Magazine
Make sure you continue with the newsletter post-implementation to continue to capture engagement around the change.
These are just a few ways to get creative that I’ve found helpful when communicating project changes. Not all of them may suit your organization, so try to get creative yourself! What are some ways that you keep your stakeholders engaged?
Mona Mortazavi, MBA, PMP, LSSGB is a project and change management professional based in Houston, Texas. In her current role, she manages enterprise-wide programs and process improvement initiatives for Waste Management in Corporate Finance, previously in Supply Chain Operations. Mona’s primary experience has been in leading software implementation projects and process improvement transformation initiatives in the finance, supply chain, real estate, and human resources disciplines. With experience in the utilities and environmental services industries, her true focus is in creating best practice programs for the projects she leads. Mona writes about project planning and change management.