There is something troubling me and it has been for a while now. It affects all the public sector and is relevant to many businesses. Are we failing our customers and service users in our change communication?
All parts of the public sector have seen significant change over the last five years with more planned for the years ahead. There are mergers and partnerships, new organisations and new devolved powers and it all has to be explained to the workforce. But have we made the situation too complicated for most people to want to understand?
If a business creates a new product or service their will have been extensive discussion, user focus groups and a big budget will be given to promote it. This isn’t the approach made by public services who will make changes and move on. In this increasingly complex world we can be making ourselves even further removed from service users.
The future isn’t as bleak as it may first seem. We can recognise the situation we face and do something about it. This means ensuring the voice of service users is central in the organisation and is considered when discussing change. There must be an ongoing conversation so people can start to understand how things will affect them. Communication and promotion about services has to be a critical part of the organisation’s approach.
The pace of change is fast at the moment. I remember as a journalism student learning about public affairs and how throngs are structured. I don’t think anything I learnt more than 20 years ago is still relevant beyond the fact we still have local councils.
Putting service users at the heart of organisational change is as important as it is to develop employee engagement as part of it. We need to act now before further change creates further confusion.