How to Communicate Change to Employees

Video Interview with Sun Microsystem

What do you do when it feels like no matter what, employees just aren’t listening? How can you keep employees motivated through periods of change and instability? How do you tailor messages to different employee groups?

On September 17, 2009, Terry McKenzie, Senior Director of Global Employee Communications and Communities at Sun Microsystems, visited with the Graziadio Business Report to answer the questions above and more.

At Sun, Terry is responsible for overall communication strategy and the creation of programs to engage employees and support Sun’s evolving corporate culture. In February, after six years at Sun, Terry began working part-time so she could pursue other opportunities; recently she joined the boutique creative agency, The Fibonacci Design Group. Terry graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s in Organization Communication in 1974. You can learn more about Terry at her blog, blogs.sun.com/tmac. (link no longer accessible).

Questions for Terry McKenzie

  1. Tell us about your current job situation
  2. What does being responsible for the communication strategy entail?
  3. Who are your different audiences?
  4. How large is your team and how is the department organized?
  5. How many employees does Sun have and in how many locations? How do you communicate to diverse employee populations?
  6. What are Employee Communities and how are you building them?

  1. In this economic climate, how are you keeping employee morale up?
  2. What is Sun’s corporate culture and how is it evolving?
  3. How do you maintain consistent messaging in an evolving culture?
  4. Two years ago, you wrote an article for the Strategic Management Journal on applying a change management process to employee communication. What were the key takeaways and do they still apply?
  5. What do managers not “get” about communicating with employees?

  1. How do you feel about this cosmic shift in communication to the web? Do you have any privacy or other concerns?
  2. What is Sun’s social media policy for employees? How is it enforced?
  3. What is the purpose of Sun’s intranet? How does it support the business?

  1. Tell us about your career path—how did you end up where you are?
  2. How has the field of organizational communication evolved?
  3. What are you learning from the new opportunities you are pursuing?
  4. What do you love most about being a communicator?
  5. What do you love least?
  6. What advice would you give to new graduates who want to work in organizational communication?
Author of the article
Danielle L. Scott
Danielle L. Scott,
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