Welcome to the second in our four-part series on how to ace change management for your migration to Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office 365. Catch up by reading last week’s blog post on planning and sponsorship. Today, we’ll take a closer look at awareness.
A good awareness campaign informs, engages, and inspires your users to be the change you wish to implement in your company.
Don’t mistake awareness for simply creating “buzz”, though. Flash mobs won’t drive sustained behavior changes. You need to create an awareness plan illuminating the value of SharePoint and its benefits to employees.
Awareness must happen before, during, and even after your SharePoint rollout, which means you need the right mix of people, messages, channels, and cadence to make your message stick. Ace these four points:
- Inspire new behaviors: You already established which key behaviors you want employees to exude last week – now is the time to focus your communications on the essential scenarios and subsequent tasks they will need to learn. Studies find it can take at least 21 days – three weeks – for someone to truly break or adopt a new habit. If you have employees used to working a particular way for years, one email and a training session won’t perpetuate lasting change. 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.
- Plan communication tactics: You can’t just send one email announcing SharePoint and expect that it will promote lasting change. Create a set of communication tactics reinforcing your key messages over a period of time – and in different channels – that will inspire, inform, and motivate your target audiences to use SharePoint. As you plan out your communication tactics, make sure that you identify your target audiences, diversify the different ways (e.g. email, video, in-person events) you communicate to your audiences, and how often you will send out these communications.
- Mobilize SharePoint champions: Just as 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, employees who provide informal training and support to others in your company, to create a learning community. You’ve heard of “early adopters” who always have the latest Apple gadget – but SharePoint champions help penetrate the “never adopters” who absolutely refuse to ever use a new thing, as evidenced by their flip phone with no connection to the Internet. The beauty of having SharePoint champions is they can support these employees on a peer-to-peer level.
- Open feedback channels: Offer employees a forum to ask questions and give feedback. This is the only way to learn what works, what is failing, and how you can specifically fine-tune your implementation to maximize success. The more inquiries you have come in, the easier it will be for you to group common ones together and provide a Frequently Asked Question list to highlight to save employees the time of having to request help. There are also software solutions that can deliver help in-context, right at the moment of truth when employees are trying to perform an action in SharePoint, giving them the answers they need immediately. The methods may differ, but it’s important you set up an environment to take questions and feedback that is proactive, nimble, and easily adaptable.
Come back next week as we will examine how to build holistic training strategies that will help employees learn the new technology on their terms. Can’t wait until then? Download our free eBook today to short circuit the pain of change management.