"Engage all key Stakeholders with this communication plan. 5 fundamental steps to drive engagement throughout the divestment. Increase M&A value."
After understanding the details around how the divestment change would impact different parts of the organization, a communications plan needs to be established to define and co-ordinate the actions required to inform and engage all key stakeholder through the divestment (from initial announcement of the divestment through to resumption of business as usual), and so achieve the desired outcome of sustained staff performance, minimized flight of employees or customers, and retention of business value through the process.
Once developed and approved, the Communications workstream should be conducted and managed like any other workstream to ensure responsibilities are clear, activities are conducted on time, issues are addressed as they emerge etc. More than most however, a Communication Plan needs to be dynamic and regularly adjusted based on the progress of the separation/divestment program, and input you receive from, eg, an organizational temperature check (see below).
Based on the Communications Plan, a number of communications ‘products’ or methods will then need to be defined, developed and conducted (e.g. newsletter, town hall meeting, intranet site, meeting, survey). There are no intrinsically ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to communicate provided you use methods that collectively are bi-directional, meet the needs of your Communications Plan, are conducted by the right individuals based on the group taking part, and align with the culture and expectations of the group. Regardless of the method or mechanism used.
Executive sponsor, separation manager and deal team
Meeting Agenda, Whiteboard, Strategy Documents
Spend one day or more to prepare materials for a two hour play.
One or more key messages should be generated to guide all your communications based on the divestment rationale and objectives to set the tone of the program. This ‘communications platform’ can then be tailored for each communications ‘product’ you develop and conduct. Examples of key messages can include, “This divestment will generate increased profits for growth and expansion of the business, leading to more career opportunities for you.” or “Divesting this part of our business will help us focus more on the products and services we provide you.” Your message platform can and should also include a number of key learnings you want to consistently gather from your various stakeholder groups as part of your communications with them, eg. “Is your part of the business still working efficiently?”, or “Do you feel positively about this divestment and the business that remains?”.
Based on the output from your Stakeholder Change and Impact Analysis, consider how your key messages and learnings need to be tailored to every stakeholder group. From this, develop a communications approach for each stakeholder group. (You may find at this stage that multiple groups can be combined as they have sufficiently similar needs and expectations.)
Common communication products include:
Common feedback products include
Anonymous feedback forms, email or intranet forums
While there is no best format for a communications plan, it should at a minimum clearly define the following:
Communication can be planned and conducted as one of the workstreams in your divestment program, supported by your PMO as per other workstreams. However, as this is likely to be one of the more dynamic workstreams, the Communications lead needs to have sufficient time and expertise to adjust the plan based on how the stakeholders perceive both the changes as they are announced and implemented, and the communications surrounding them. The Divestment PMO should also have the ability to input into changes to the plan ‘in flight’ as they have an overview of the overall progress of the divestment program and current/anticipated issues.