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Plan for momentum

Before you announce the move, develop a detailed communications plan for staff, customers and suppliers to give them the information they need, when they need it.

You cannot ‘over communicate’ on a subject as important as this but try not to overwhelm people with too much detail too soon because essential information may be overlooked or forgotten. Timing, content and frequency of messages is crucial and every means of available communication should be considered:

  • Posters
  • Bulletins
  • Internal employee magazine
  • E-mails
  • Memorandum and meetings

Your staff

Employees need to be enthused and motivated. If they recognise the positives behind the decision they will actively contribute to making the project a success. Conversely, staff who feel threatened or worried by the change may become unsettled.

Define key messages to communication

Business relocation is often a positive move, a reflection of business growth or expansion. Prior to the announcement, define four or five key messages, which create positive reasons for relocating. These could include:

  • A better working environment for employees
  • A new location to make it easier to service the company’s customers
  • New premises to allow for future expansion and growth
  • A working environment to accommodate a new ‘leaner’ organisation to best deliver excellent service to customers

When the key messages have been defined, plan to roll out these points consistently to staff, customers and suppliers.

Announcing the move

As soon as you have agreed the moving date, announce the move to your staff. The move announcement should include:

  • Your key messages
  • Details of the new premises
  • Date of moving
  • The name of your project manager
  • Names of the individuals on the project team (if this has been appointed)
  • Information about meetings and presentations to provide staff with more details

Staff meetings and presentations

You want staff to feel excited rather than worried, so give them as much positive information as you can. Brief department managers so they can discuss the move with their teams immediately after the announcement. Make arrangements for managers to feed back to you about how these discussions went and the questions that were raised. There might be issues you hadn’t anticipated and need to address.

Regular communication

Circulate news and information about the move to your staff regularly to build a feeling of team enterprise and keep the project moving forward. Some organisations produce regular newsletters to communicate information about a move to their staff. Your employees will play a vital role in communicating with your customers and suppliers as they meet and talk to them. Make sure they reiterate key information about the move and in particular the changing contact information.

Welcome pack

Produce a welcome pack for your employees. This could include:

  • A letter thanking everyone for their help
  • Floor plans
  • New systems information (telecoms, computers)
  • Telephone lists
  • Health and safety information, including fire escape routes
Staff communication: Things to consider (Part 1)
  • Define the reasons for and the positive impact of the move
  • Create a communication plan for employees, customers and suppliers
  • Team meetings immediately after the move announcement
  • Create a mechanism for sfeedback and questions
  • Control the rumour mill with good communication
  • Use different media for different messages
  • Involve your project team in the comms plan
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Your customers

Tell your customers about your move when they can usefully do something with the information. Every business move will be different but think about:

  • Who to tell
  • The positive messages which can be communicated by your sales team
  • How much lead time
  • How many reminders

Use a combination of methods for the messages – mail, email and telephone – and don’t forget to put information on your website. Think about your customers’ needs to devise a timetable.

Your suppliers

You may need to tell your suppliers about the move before your customers. For example, if you lease photocopiers or office equipment you will have to discuss the contractual arrangements and what needs to be done for the move. Again, think about what and when your suppliers need to know so you can get the timing and messages right.

Banking

As well as notifying your bank about the move you may need to give your new address to companies to whom you pay standing orders.

Royal Mail

Don’t forget to arrange for your mail to be redirected. Remember, if you are moving to a new postal district your franking machine will need a new setting.

Official bodies

You will need to advise the official bodies, your trade association, the local council, HM Revenue & Customs about the change of address.

Next: Preparing for the move

Staff communication: Things to consider (Part 2)
  • Feed news and information to staff regularly
  • Post photos and floor plans of the new building on the intranet
  • Circulate the move timetable to all staff
  • Produce a Welcome Pack for staff
  • Manage staff expectations and limit their ability to change your plans
  • Motivate your staff – recognise effort and achievement
  • Advertising might catch missed opportunities
  • Protect your customer relationships