Agency Change Toolkit

Presented by

Think Work

ELEMENT FOUR - get started

Communicate about the intended transformation as early as possible, even if you don’t have all the answers.

You’ll want to engage everyone you can in the transformation process as early as possible, and with as much explanation as possible. The more clarity you can offer about the change in staff roles and responsibilities, the better. Direct support staffers in particular have a lot of insight to add to the planning and implementation process.

Be as transparent as you can, from Day 1.

Transparency and candor are critical to successful transformation. While confidence in your vision is important, don’t hesitate to admit what you don’t know or are unsure about. Meet frequently so everyone can be kept up to date as the process unfolds.

Use champions as partners in your communication strategy.

You’ll need to create buy-in for the change process, so partnering with a champion can be helpful. This is someone influential who could assist in getting their peers on board. Champions can naturally emerge as participants share success stories about having new experiences in the community, finding a job, or shifting into a new role within the organization.

Communicate one-on-one or in small groups for individuals and families.

You’ll be explaining the transformation many times, in many different ways, and doing this with individuals in the workshop is a priority. You can have these conversations one-on-one or through already established parents’ groups to build trusting relationships and provide support in processing the change.

Use diverse modes of communication.

Written communication that clearly explains your agency’s philosophical shift needs to be woven into all of your procedures. This includes staff orientation, staff training, newsletters, email and regular mail correspondence, board reports, and social media.

Create a campaign that positively frames your message.

A campaign is a thoughtfully constructed series of marketing materials. This may include emails to individuals and their families, a revised brochure, refreshed text for your website, etc. In all cases, you’ll frame the message to resonate with a particular audience.

A positively framed campaign can be a unifying effort, and can create a common language across your organization. Instead of “closing the workshop,” for example, you might describe “new business models with new opportunities for learning and living.”

To learn more, see these suggested resources and provider promising practices