ProShare Conference 2023: Time for change

We ran a session at ProShare’s Annual Conference on the phycology of change and the AI developments that are transforming the way we communicate.

I was joined by our Strategic Communications Lead, Martha, to explore how we as humans process change and how to effectively communicate to our colleagues in times of change. We also looked at the role AI has to play now and in the future – with a fun twist.



Change psychology

The change curve demonstrates this clearly. We go through five phases, from denial to optimism. At each phase, we need time to process and become comfortable with the change – until we come to accept and embrace it. When it comes to communicating change, it’s important to consider what you want people to ‘think, feel and do’.

Tips for communicating change:

  1. Show empathy. Be clear and honest about what it will mean for them.
  2. Share a vision. Say why the change is happening for greater connection.
  3. Give clear actions. Tell your colleagues what they need to do.
  4. Get the timing right. Start early and take small steps, so you take people on a journey
  5. Make sure you listen. Give people multiple opportunities to share concerns, ask questions, and offer ideas.

AI is changing how we communicate

The Eximia team has tried and tested many AI tools, so we shared just a few outcomes – looking at the capabilities of ChatGPT, photo editing and avatar video creation tools. So, we decided to share just some of the outcomes… let’s just say there was a mixed bag and some funny ones that we certainly won’t be using, but it did give us our office pets – thanks AI!

In summary, we concluded that while AI has its many benefits, a human touch is still needed to produce engaging, accurate and original communications. It’s all about co-creation and collaboration – so, not a case of mind v machine, but mind + machine.

Embracing change in the industry

Change was the running theme for the entire event. From adapting and operating share plans in challenging times, to tax and legal changes, not to mention changes seen in remuneration governance, the increases in the use of ESG metrics, and changes to flexible working practices.

Some final thoughts:

  • If a segment of your colleagues aren’t engaging with your share plans, work closely with a representative from that population to see what resonates with them.
  • For some companies, SAYEs that started during the pandemic are now coming to maturity, with many that are well in the money. Be proactive and empower your colleagues to make the most of their gains by educating them about their choices.
  • Despite tech advances, people still rule. Make sure a human touch is included in any communication plan wherever possible.

Thanks to ProShare for such a great event and to all the other speakers who made the day possible. Bring on the awards next!

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