Navigating Change with Effective Communication With Janet Uhrig - Speak in Flow

In this dynamic episode of Speak in Flow, Melinda Lee sits down with change management expert Janet Uhrig to dive into the intricate world of effective communication during organizational change. This conversation unravels the essential strategies needed to foster a transparent, inclusive, and psychologically safe environment that eases the complexities of change for employees.

Key Takeaways:

1. Clear Communication Channels:

Janet emphasized the critical role of establishing clear communication channels to ensure that all employees are informed and aligned with the organization’s changes. Regular updates and accessible information reduce uncertainty and speculation.

2. Active Listening:

Both Melinda and Janet highlighted the importance of active listening. Leaders must genuinely listen to employee concerns and feedback, which helps in addressing issues promptly and making informed decisions.

3. Psychological Safety:

Creating a psychologically safe environment is crucial. Employees should feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns without fear of retribution. This openness fosters trust and collaboration.

4. Transparency in Change Management:

Transparency is key to mitigating fears associated with organizational change. Janet discussed how sharing the reasons behind changes, the benefits, and the potential challenges can help in gaining employee buy-in and reducing resistance.

5. Employee Involvement:

Involving employees in the change process not only empowers them but also provides valuable insights that can enhance the implementation of changes. This collaborative approach ensures that the changes are practical and well-received.

Action Items:

1. Establish a Communication Task Force:

Create a dedicated team responsible for ensuring transparent and timely updates throughout the organizational change process. This task force will be the central point for disseminating information and addressing queries.

2. Partner with HR and Financial Teams:

Collaborate with HR and financial departments to communicate budget statuses and projections openly. This transparency allows employees to understand the financial aspects of changes and plan accordingly.

3. Engage Resistors:

Identify and engage employees who resist changes. Understand their specific concerns and provide alternative explanations to reduce speculation and misinformation. Addressing these concerns head-on can turn resistance into support.

4. Raise Leaders and Foster Open Communication:

Continue the critical work of developing leaders who value and practice open communication. By fostering an environment of trust and transparency, organizations can navigate changes more smoothly and effectively.

Join Melinda and Janet as they explore these insightful strategies and share practical advice on managing change through effective communication. This episode is packed with valuable tips and actionable steps to help your organization thrive in times of change.

Don’t miss this enlightening episode that will equip you with the tools to enhance communication and manage organizational change effectively. Subscribe to Speak in Flow for more expert insights and inspiring conversations!

About Janet Uhrig: Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources with over 20 years of experience. Demonstrated experience with Operations and all phases of HR Services and recruitment, selection, retention, workforce development, succession planning, career development, training, diversity training, employee relations, organizational effectiveness, inclusion and workplace access, process improvement, data management, audits, data analysis, annual reporting, employee relations, contract negotiations, benefits, recruitment, employment, ADA, EEO, investigations, leave management, employment law, compensation analysis, supervision and performance management.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

• Program Management

• Business Strategies and Compliance

• Strategic Direction and Leadership

• Talent Acquisition

• Process Improvement

• HR Solutions and Effective Support

• Organizational Management

• Excellent Communication Skills

https://www.linkedin.com/in/janetricouhrig/

About Melinda:

Melinda Lee is a Presentation Skills Expert, Speaking Coach and nationally renowned Motivational Speaker. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology, is an Insights Practitioner, and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development as well as Certified in Conflict Resolution. For over a decade, Melinda has researched and studied the state of “flow” and used it as a proven technique to help corporate leaders and business owners amplify their voices, access flow, and present their mission in a more powerful way to achieve results.

She has been the TEDx Berkeley Speaker Coach and worked with hundreds of executives and teams from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Caltrans, Bay Area Rapid Transit System, and more. Currently, she lives in San Francisco, California, and is breaking the ancestral lineage of silence.

Website: https://speakinflow.com/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/speakinflow

Instagram: https://instagram.com/speakinflow

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpowerall

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Transcript
Melinda Lee:

Welcome, dear listeners to the Speak In Flow

Melinda Lee:

podcast where we share unique experiences to help you unlock

Melinda Lee:

and unleash your leadership voice. Today we have Janet

Melinda Lee:

Uhrig, who is an HR director at Pima Community College, she has

Melinda Lee:

over 20 years in human resources. So glad you're here.

Melinda Lee:

Hi, Janet.

Janet Uhrig:

Hi, Melinda, so lovely to be with you today.

Melinda Lee:

Thank you so much for being here. I'm so excited

Melinda Lee:

about this topic. So let's dive in. Because you pride yourself

Melinda Lee:

in change and helping organisations move through

Melinda Lee:

change. And I mean, this is if there's change, there's nothing

Melinda Lee:

constant change is constant, right? And probably even more so

Melinda Lee:

with all the technology happening. And so organisations

Melinda Lee:

really need and leaders need to perk up their ears on how do we

Melinda Lee:

effectively manage this. And you've done this quite a bit

Melinda Lee:

within organisations to help leaders. Yes,

Janet Uhrig:

that with certified senior professional and human

Janet Uhrig:

resources, like you mentioned, with over 20 years of experience

Janet Uhrig:

in currently, my role really encompasses some strategic

Janet Uhrig:

leadership policy, talent management, employee relations,

Janet Uhrig:

and making sure that our strategic goals are aligned with

Janet Uhrig:

the college. And so and really just fostering a positive,

Janet Uhrig:

productive

Melinda Lee:

workplace. Yeah, building that productive

Melinda Lee:

positive culture within the organisations, the public

Melinda Lee:

sector. And so with all the change that's going on, what do

Melinda Lee:

you think is one of the most challenging things that leaders

Melinda Lee:

have around communication?

Janet Uhrig:

That's a good question. What are some of the

Janet Uhrig:

major challenges I've seen across my career has really been

Janet Uhrig:

ensuring clear communication between departments and across

Janet Uhrig:

the organisation. A lot of times, organisations will even

Janet Uhrig:

within their own departments or divisions have its own jargon

Janet Uhrig:

and priorities, right, sometimes can be competing. So some, some

Janet Uhrig:

instances of misunderstanding or misaligned expectations can

Janet Uhrig:

have, you know, hinder dynamics. And so really making sure that

Janet Uhrig:

you're developing communication strength like standardising

Janet Uhrig:

communication, travel channels, even within the organisation,

Janet Uhrig:

and of course, active listening is one of my favourite tools.

Melinda Lee:

Yeah, so they're having challenges with clear

Melinda Lee:

communication. Because there's so much going on and different

Melinda Lee:

priorities and people. There's misunderstandings. Yeah, so how

Melinda Lee:

do we develop those clear communication channels? And then

Melinda Lee:

what about the transparency? You know, when things are happening,

Melinda Lee:

having authentic transparent conversations? What do you what

Melinda Lee:

do you think about that?

Janet Uhrig:

Absolutely. But it's especially important when

Janet Uhrig:

it can be shared, I know you and I had previously talked about

Janet Uhrig:

what's appropriate to share in HR. And it's, it's interesting,

Janet Uhrig:

because a lot more than you think in terms of, of course,

Janet Uhrig:

the opportunity to be transparent. So some of that

Janet Uhrig:

starts the very beginning with communicating your vision and

Janet Uhrig:

mission of the organisation making sure that you're having

Janet Uhrig:

specially managers are having regular checks and check ins

Janet Uhrig:

with their employees, making sure that you provide open

Janet Uhrig:

forums where employees can voice their concerns and creating that

Janet Uhrig:

psychologically safe environment. So that really

Janet Uhrig:

encourages two way communication. How to start

Janet Uhrig:

that.

Melinda Lee:

And how do you is so let's say I'm a leader, and

Melinda Lee:

there's a change about to happen? What is the best way to

Melinda Lee:

go about doing that? And

Janet Uhrig:

initially, right, there's going to be some what's

Janet Uhrig:

widespread concern about job security and changes in roles?

Janet Uhrig:

So the initial communication if you're going through a

Janet Uhrig:

reorganisation, or, or the opportunity to, to shift or any

Janet Uhrig:

kind of change is to make sure you're dedicating Communication

Janet Uhrig:

Task Force. And that can include folks with from different

Janet Uhrig:

departments and different levels, so that you are ensuring

Janet Uhrig:

that kind of transparent, timely, empathetic communication

Janet Uhrig:

throughout the process of change. Sorry,

Melinda Lee:

yeah, what happens? I mean, I love the idea of a

Melinda Lee:

taskforce, right, the more people with you in your team

Melinda Lee:

that can share the information appropriately, the better. And

Melinda Lee:

what happens? How can I know what to share and what I mean?

Melinda Lee:

What if there are like, Yeah, I'm doing a reorg. And I have to

Melinda Lee:

there are some employees I'm about to lay off. I can't share

Melinda Lee:

that. How would I as a leader know what to share and what not

Melinda Lee:

to share?

Janet Uhrig:

I think early and often communication is

Janet Uhrig:

important, especially when you're talking about budget,

Janet Uhrig:

right? The the opportunity to partner with in human resources,

Janet Uhrig:

a lot of times when Not Matt are daft to ensure that we control

Janet Uhrig:

the budget. And so working with your financial team to make sure

Janet Uhrig:

that you're transparent about where the status and where the

Janet Uhrig:

projections are, because then the organisation will know oh,

Janet Uhrig:

we're going to have to look at what we can do together and that

Janet Uhrig:

planning ahead so that you're not waiting last minute to kind

Janet Uhrig:

of encourage kind of fear and confusion about job security. A

Janet Uhrig:

lot of times in organisations, we route especially at Pima we

Janet Uhrig:

really try to make sure that there's regular updates were a

Janet Uhrig:

little bit different in terms of organisation because we have a

Janet Uhrig:

publicly elected board. And so making sure it's required of us

Janet Uhrig:

at the state level to make sure we are having transparent, open

Janet Uhrig:

communication through those meetings. But many

Janet Uhrig:

organisations, even without that kind of oversight can do that

Janet Uhrig:

through regular updates about through either emails, or I know

Janet Uhrig:

a lot of organisations like townhall meetings, question and

Janet Uhrig:

answer sessions, the opportunity to keep everyone informed about

Janet Uhrig:

the progress and what to expect next.

Melinda Lee:

And how have you seen the companies actually be

Melinda Lee:

successful at this?

Janet Uhrig:

I have, there's a couple of different

Janet Uhrig:

organisations, right, I've seen a lot of opportunities where

Janet Uhrig:

where you, you kind of go down the wrong turn, where you're not

Janet Uhrig:

regularly updating, and it feels like a surprise to individuals.

Janet Uhrig:

And so that's hard, harder to control, right? The best people

Janet Uhrig:

will often leave those organisations and then you're

Janet Uhrig:

left with the opportunity to figure out how am I going to

Janet Uhrig:

staff in addition to, you know, keep and retain folks. And so

Janet Uhrig:

that can be challenging, and one of the ways especially managers

Janet Uhrig:

can have an impact is to make sure that they are having those

Janet Uhrig:

one on one discussions with their team and members

Janet Uhrig:

addressing those individual concerns. And a lot of times

Janet Uhrig:

it's providing, you know, personalised support. And as it

Janet Uhrig:

relates to leading that team,

Melinda Lee:

again, you said, being curious and willing to

Melinda Lee:

listen and what it's like you've done that, have you listened,

Melinda Lee:

and they still don't want to do that the change their resistance

Melinda Lee:

to the change? Have you seen leaders be really successful to

Melinda Lee:

helping people overcome the resistance? I like to say

Janet Uhrig:

that you're engaging your ostriches, right,

Janet Uhrig:

right, change is gonna happen, whether they like it or not,

Janet Uhrig:

right, the opportunity for for folks to stick their head in the

Janet Uhrig:

sand and say, no, no, I don't want to do this. You you have to

Janet Uhrig:

then be more intentional and provide some of those feedback

Janet Uhrig:

loops, right? Especially when we're talking about

Janet Uhrig:

communication. A lot of times engaging those surgeons to make

Janet Uhrig:

sure that you what are their concerns? How can an engaging

Janet Uhrig:

them to help problem solve that? A lot of times working with your

Janet Uhrig:

the harshest critics in the organisations can be helpful,

Janet Uhrig:

right? Because that feedback is important. So how do we address

Janet Uhrig:

feedback? How do we address those subsequent subsequent

Janet Uhrig:

communications to ensure that you can alleviate and then those

Janet Uhrig:

folks can become your biggest agents. And so I've seen success

Janet Uhrig:

and really engaging instead of leaving them off on the side of

Janet Uhrig:

the road, if you will, really engaging them and bringing them

Janet Uhrig:

along to help you solve those problems, I found has been

Janet Uhrig:

really helpful for organisational change.

Janet Uhrig:

Interesting,

Melinda Lee:

interesting, because I would have thought

Melinda Lee:

that it would be Hey, get the Allies get the people that are

Melinda Lee:

at the tipping point, the people that are really resistance,

Melinda Lee:

spending so much time on them, that could be quite daunting.

Janet Uhrig:

It can I think the opportunity, right? The nice

Janet Uhrig:

thing about folks who are ready and willing to change is they're

Janet Uhrig:

gonna, they're gonna make it happen. And so sharing the

Janet Uhrig:

information freely explaining those decisions is easy. But

Janet Uhrig:

when those decisions, a lot of times, folks are the uncertainty

Janet Uhrig:

of why those decisions are being made, and so helping explain the

Janet Uhrig:

reasoning behind them. And maybe they're hearing it in a way that

Janet Uhrig:

you hadn't thought about it. So right neurodiversity can can be

Janet Uhrig:

maybe that's an issue for some of the communication and so

Janet Uhrig:

thinking about well, if I explain it in a different way,

Janet Uhrig:

what are some of the contexts that helps reduce the

Janet Uhrig:

speculation that maybe is really the stomach problem that folks

Janet Uhrig:

are having with it? Right,

Melinda Lee:

right. So digging real deep about what is the

Melinda Lee:

resistance out there? Because I think a lot of times when

Melinda Lee:

leaders communicate change, they have, oh, here are the key five

Melinda Lee:

things that you're concerned about. And that's everybody. And

Melinda Lee:

even if it's something similar, it's really listening to the

Melinda Lee:

person's story. What is where's it coming from? Giving them the

Melinda Lee:

opportunity to to express it? And then and then seeing how,

Melinda Lee:

like you said, maybe there's ways that they we can problem

Melinda Lee:

solve often gather.

Janet Uhrig:

Yeah, especially encouraging that two way

Janet Uhrig:

communication. Not only are is the manager or the employee, you

Janet Uhrig:

know, active listening, right, they're able to, like you said,

Janet Uhrig:

share their thoughts share their concerns, but you're then

Janet Uhrig:

showing them that you value their input and the opportunity

Janet Uhrig:

then to be another way to enact that as that open that typical

Janet Uhrig:

open door policy, right, if they are going to feel comfortable

Janet Uhrig:

expressing their concerns, that you'll be able to engage their

Janet Uhrig:

issues and questions. And so the other piece of that is making

Janet Uhrig:

sure you're having consistent communication. Right. It's, it's

Janet Uhrig:

one thing I think you mentioned a little bit earlier to have

Janet Uhrig:

that kind of deep dive, but that can be applicable across the

Janet Uhrig:

organisation and regular updates, right, can help

Janet Uhrig:

mitigate some of those, those change fears?

Melinda Lee:

Yeah, so whenever an organisation or team is going

Melinda Lee:

through any change, you got to triple your communication. I

Melinda Lee:

mean, you thought you're already communicating.

Janet Uhrig:

It's the I think that's the biggest thing,

Janet Uhrig:

organisations will feel oh, well, we've already told them,

Janet Uhrig:

right, the average human needs to hear something three to seven

Janet Uhrig:

times I think that the research says And so yeah, communicating

Janet Uhrig:

is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to change.

Melinda Lee:

Right? Right now it's not in communicating a

Melinda Lee:

different perspectives, different store their stories,

Melinda Lee:

statistics, visuals, different modes, email, townhall meetings,

Melinda Lee:

one to ones,

Janet Uhrig:

right. And like you mentioned earlier, the

Janet Uhrig:

transparency and challenge. So really, when you're, when the

Janet Uhrig:

organisation is facing that challenge, be upfront about it.

Janet Uhrig:

Make sure that you you know, and if you can explain what's

Janet Uhrig:

happening, why it's happening, and then how you plan to address

Janet Uhrig:

it. And if you're open to suggestions, getting those

Janet Uhrig:

suggestions from the team and saying, Well, what, yeah, let's

Janet Uhrig:

get the suggestions. We'll talk about what does that really mean

Janet Uhrig:

in implementation. And then thinking about, well, here's

Janet Uhrig:

what we can do. Often organisations will be stuck in

Janet Uhrig:

terms of funding or, or the opportunity to, to create

Janet Uhrig:

change, right? If there's something that if there's a

Janet Uhrig:

move, that's has to happen, a lot of times those are going to

Janet Uhrig:

be the standardised kind of things that you have to do, but

Janet Uhrig:

then how you address it and how you work through it together.

Janet Uhrig:

can do some trust with employees?

Melinda Lee:

Right, right. So I'm sorry that the audio the

Melinda Lee:

last statement that you said, working through together is what

Melinda Lee:

you said, though, how do you went in and out a little bit,

Melinda Lee:

but that's okay. For you can hear most of it? Oh, does that

Melinda Lee:

what you said that you're working together on this? And

Melinda Lee:

and so my last question is before is this so juicy? We can

Melinda Lee:

go on for probably five episodes. You mentioned that

Melinda Lee:

you're involved with DEI efforts. How has that been? How

Melinda Lee:

do people I mean, we're still rolling out a lot of dei and BD

Melinda Lee:

IB. I hear nowadays, diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging,

Melinda Lee:

which is awesome. How has that changed been like for

Melinda Lee:

organisations?

Janet Uhrig:

Well, even across the country, I think that that

Janet Uhrig:

are having some, some challenges in those areas, our organisation

Janet Uhrig:

and institution is is one that is committed to that engagement

Janet Uhrig:

and importance, right? The opportunity for not just our

Janet Uhrig:

student population, but our employee populations to show up

Janet Uhrig:

and be seen and, and feel like they belong. And so the

Janet Uhrig:

opportunity to really, I think it's really leading by example,

Janet Uhrig:

and demonstrating transparency and the communication is, is

Janet Uhrig:

what helps that belonging and the opportunity to have folks be

Janet Uhrig:

able to show up and be seen for who they are and what they

Janet Uhrig:

contribute to the organisation is important. And so in terms of

Janet Uhrig:

belonging, diversity, equity inclusion initiatives, I think

Janet Uhrig:

in terms of organisational rights, so much of Human

Janet Uhrig:

Resources has been gatekeeping. And so sometimes that can be

Janet Uhrig:

helpful in organisations something sometimes it can be

Janet Uhrig:

harmful in communities. And so thinking about ways to create

Janet Uhrig:

systemic change around diversifying the workplace,

Janet Uhrig:

providing training and resources, the opportunity to

Janet Uhrig:

have transparent processes, those are all ways that human

Janet Uhrig:

resource professionals can can help in those areas of

Janet Uhrig:

diversity, equity and inclusion.

Melinda Lee:

Wow, you have a lot. You have a big role and

Melinda Lee:

it's such an important one, especially in our communities

Melinda Lee:

and our colleges today. I mean, you I did say that you're an HR

Melinda Lee:

director, but you like to hear how you do so much more in terms

Melinda Lee:

of talent management and employee retention. And so

Melinda Lee:

really kudos to you for doing all that. It's a lot of effort,

Melinda Lee:

but I think it's paying off. I know it's paying off with all

Melinda Lee:

the students and the staff and the faculty and the families. So

Melinda Lee:

thank you so much for sharing that Janet.

Janet Uhrig:

I appreciate your time Melinda, I love your your

Janet Uhrig:

the work that you do and, and all of your web webinars and

Janet Uhrig:

podcasts and training. So thank you for all that you do. It's

Janet Uhrig:

really important work.

Melinda Lee:

Let's continue to do it. Let's continue to raise

Melinda Lee:

our leaders bring people together and yes, celebrate our

Melinda Lee:

unique differences celebrate all of our special strengths that

Melinda Lee:

each of us have. So thank you so much, Janet. And I trust the

Melinda Lee:

listeners got so much out of this episode. I know that

Melinda Lee:

there's a lot more that we can cover. Maybe someday I'll Jenny

Melinda Lee:

can come back and dive deep deeper into change management.

Melinda Lee:

But until then, take care all much love to you. See you soon.

Melinda Lee:

Bye Janet. Thank you so much.

Janet Uhrig:

Thank you, Melinda