4 Ways to Drive Awareness When Deploying Microsoft SharePoint or Office 365

We recently announced our new partnership with Powell 365 to remove the obstacles to deploy, customize, and adopt Office 365 so companies can fully maximize the platform to transform the way their teams work and drive greater business value.  

The beauty of our partnership is that it combines an out-of-the-box intranet with our in-context training and support to make sure end users understand how they can improve productivity and collaboration from Day 1.  

However, something that gets lost in translation is properly driving awareness to the new technology solution you are deploying to help improve the way your employees work. You need to create an awareness plan that clearly allows employees to see the value of SharePoint and how they’ll benefit by using it.  

Awareness must happen before, during, and even after your SharePoint rollout – so your communication strategy has to be proactive and account for this reality. It’s important that you find the right people, the right messages, the right channels, and the right time.  

It takes far more than one email and a half-day of training. It requires a four-pronged approach: 

  1. Inspire new behaviors: Now is the time to focus your communications on these essential scenarios and tasks they will need to learn. Studies find that it can take at least 21 days – three weeks – for someone to truly break or adopt a new habit. If you have employees that have been used to working a particular way for years, you can’t expect to do one email and a three-hour training then call it a day. Develop your initial plan, and then think about how you can revisit your communications throughout a prolonged period of time – say, one year – and keep interest high.  
  2. Plan communication tactics: You need to create a set of communication tactics that reinforce your key messages over a period of time – and in different channels – that will inspire, inform, and motivate your target audiences to use SharePoint. It’s vital you identify your target audiences, think about the different ways (methods) you can communicate to them, and nail down a cadence that keeps information top-of-mind but not so much that people tune you out.  
  3. Organize change management champions: Executive sponsorship is important for helping drive importance and the case for change throughout your organization in a “top-down” manner. However, as we’ve explained how you should diversify your communication strategy – you also need to diversify who you have inspiring employees to adapt to change. This means recruiting SharePoint champions, users who provide informal training and support to others in your company, to create a learning community.  
  4. Open feedback channels: Throughout your SharePoint implementation, you have to offer employees a forum to ask questions and give feedback. This is the only way you will be able to learn what works, what is failing, and how you can specifically fine-tune your implementation to maximize success. Speed is of the essence – consider deploying a feedback/triage team to address employee inquiries, creating FAQs, and deploying software solutions to deliver help in-context, right at the moment of truth when employees need it most.  

As you are planning your SharePoint and Office 365 rollout, Content Panda for SharePoint will work with you every step of the way to transform the online user experience, accelerate user adoption, simplify training and support, and promote governance. The New Year is right around the corner: Now is the time to make sure you can start the year successfully onboarding users to SharePoint. Book a demo with us today. 

Written by Co-Founder and CMO Heather Newman

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