6 Top tips for communication
You need to build confidence and reduce anxiety about change. You will probably find that 70 to 80% of asset management is already happening in the company (depending on the existing maturity of systems). You are not talking about a radical or complete replacement of all the management and engineering practices. It’s more about making all the asset management practices more effective, using the stated principles of ISO 55001 – i.e. holistic, integrated, systematic etc. This is a good message, as it reduces anxiety in the workforce. You are going to give them the tools, support and authority to manage their assets in an optimal way, using their expertise, involvement and enthusiasm (yes, it will come!).
2 Behaviour speaks
There is no point in investing time and money in internal communications if the behaviour of management acts against what the messages are. Employees will see what’s happening and realise that it is not a genuine change process. The very highest management has to understand and commit openly to the new way, and ensure good discipline in all employees to accept change and to collaborate in the implementation.
3 Coherent and logical
Have a coherent message so that everything fits together and makes sense. People are looking for a logical concept behind the programme, so that they can understand what is being implemented. Try to develop an internal conceptual picture or map of how everything fits together. Don’t use other people’s external diagrams – use your own. Don’t use confusing terms, use internal language. You don’t even have to mention ISO 55001, just use it as a tool. Keep the concept fairly simple at first.
Have a consistent message by keeping the messages the same, avoid confusing changes. Don’t allow any conflicting messages, for example between safety and asset management, or between departments, or between short-term cost saving and long-term sustainability of solutions.
When you are delivering the communications, you can use large-scale briefing and training events, but you will find that you also have to have a continuous communication process, using as many “touch points” as possible, including visual displays, small scale talks, newsletters and intranet. Try to integrate asset management naturally into all the communication that is going on. This should be part of the agreed communications plan.
The most effective communication is the stuff that is personal, positive and relevant to the people concerned. Try to catch people displaying the wanted behaviour – for example someone who managed a fault really well and followed the process perfectly – and communicate the story.