Communicating digital projects internally – this is how it works!

As a project manager, your digitalisation project is very important to you, and you know the many advantages it will bring to your company. You want to create acceptance for your project among your colleagues – ideally even enthusiasm. But how? A crucial factor for success is internal communication. The following five questions will help you to optimally plan the communication of your project right from the start.

1. When is the right time to start communicating?

Many companies tend to communicate a project only when it is almost completed. After all, a lot can still happen during the project. By then, however, some information has long since leaked out via the grapevine – possibly even incorrect information. It is worth asking whether it is already possible to report on the kick-off of a project and whether the project will be communicated afterwards. This also offers the opportunity to involve the organisation in the development, for example through short surveys.

2. How can I plan the communication for my project?

Start with an analysis of your target groups. Who are they? What do the changes mean for them – not only factually, but also emotionally? Does digitalisation change the scope for action or the balance of power? What are the most important questions of the target groups? Which communication channels (e. g. intranet, app, employee meeting, flyers, training, etc.) can you use to reach your audience?

Use this knowledge to draw up a communication plan. Record which groups should receive which information when and through which channel. As a rule of thumb, the greater the impact on a group, the more personal the communication should be. Also, avoid the three biggest mistakes in internal communication.

3. How can I communicate negative consequences for employees well?

During the stakeholder analysis, you may find that the implementation of your digital project will have negative consequences for individual groups. Here it can help to explain the changes simply and clearly by means of a change story.

When developing a change story, you can use the following questions as a guide:

  • Where do we stand as a company today?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • Why do we need to change?
  • How do we do that exactly?
  • What does that mean for you as employees?

If the negative effects are massive and lead, for example, to a reorganisation and job cuts, then you should get your colleagues from corporate communications on board.

4. What do I do if there is a headwind from colleagues?

It is normal for innovations to cause resistance. Show your colleagues that their opinions matter and that it is about moving forward together. Use the feedback to identify possible weaknesses in your project. What specific concerns are mentioned? What are the causes? Often, solutions that lead to an improvement of the digital project can be worked out in dialogue. This way, everyone benefits – your target groups and your project.

5. Do I really need to convince all employees of the need for change?

You will probably never be able to inspire all employees for your project. But there is also good news: If you can convince a critical mass within your target groups, that will be enough for the project’s success. Think carefully about which groups or people are important for the success of your project. Get in touch with these colleagues, listen to them and involve them. The more they can help shape a digital change, the better they can let go of the old and develop enthusiasm for the new.

Do you have a digital project coming up and need support with the strategic planning of internal communication? Call us or contact us via LinkedIn or e-mail!

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Silke Balsys
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