Short on time? Read the key takeaways:
- Many organizations recognize the need for a streamlined workplace communication platform but fail to enable widespread technology adoption.
- In this article, you’ll gain insights into one organization’s journey to consolidate disparate enterprise communication and collaboration platforms into one – Microsoft Teams. Getting employees to adopt the new technology was critical to the project’s success.
- Five OCM techniques contributed to a successful migration, while data-driven insights helped the organization finesse its approach to encouraging adoption. Any enterprise can benefit from implementing one or more of these techniques.
Introducing new technology can completely reshape company culture. It can make it easier to connect with customers, complete projects and drive innovation—but only if employees adopt it.
Organizational change management (OCM) is the process of planning for and introducing major changes, such as new technology, within your organization. Effective OCM can transform your workplace and propel user adoption. And taking a data-driven approach to OCM further eases technology rollout.
That’s the key lesson learned by one organization when it embarked on a project to consolidate multiple communication and collaboration platforms into one secure, unified platform – Microsoft Teams. The organization wanted chat, calling and document-sharing capabilities in one place. Plus, with multiple presences scattered across platforms that lacked integration, it was often difficult to tell if a colleague was available for a call or meeting.
As part of Unisys’ Digital Workplace Deep Dive podcast series, Kristine Krueger, Ph.D., director of global OCM services for Unisys, and Dave Hamshaw, senior consultant for Digital Workplace Solutions from Unisys, sat down with host Weston Morris to share their perspectives on using data-driven OCM to support technology adoption.
This article shares expert insights on OCM from their conversation about this Microsoft Teams migration. Here are five techniques for a successful OCM strategy that helped drive technology adoption – with an assist from data along the way.
#1: Think beyond the technology
While some organizations may say a successful technology implementation is the desired outcome, others will have a business driver behind it. And ultimately, this latter approach will be far more successful. Drilling down into motivations for adopting new technology can easily be overlooked but is a critical step for project success.
Defining the business objectives linked to introducing new technology can help you tailor your OCM approach. In this organization’s case, the business objective was to enable employees to collaborate more easily and decrease unnecessary meetings that slow productivity. But distributed calendars on multiple platforms made it hard for employees to see a colleague’s availability for collaboration, whether in the form of an impromptu voice or video call or a scheduled meeting. Someone could be online on one platform but offline on another or appear available on one while actually in a meeting on the other.
At the start of the project, ad-hoc meetings – impromptu Teams chats and calls – quickly emerged as the most common way people connected vs. scheduling meetings. Ad-hoc meetings continued to increase throughout the rollout, while scheduled meetings steadily decreased. Given that research shows 92% of employees consider meetings to be costly and unproductive, that was a huge achievement.
This shift toward more ad-hoc meetings indicated that employees felt they could be more productive by being purposeful about how they communicated and collaborated with one another— no more meetings just for the sake of meeting.
How data helped: Device and communication platform monitoring tools revealed qualitative insights around how the platforms were used before, during and after the migration, demonstrating a change in meeting behavior. In the end, team leaders understood that their employees could be more productive with fewer organized meetings and embraced this mindset moving forward to empower their teams.
#2 – Recruit leaders as early adopters
Gaining the support of influential leaders across the organization is critical for user adoption because other team members will follow their behavior. The ideal early adopters are leaders who have sway over employee opinion and can encourage other employees to adopt the technology.
From the beginning, the adoption rate among the C-suite was high following this organization’s migration. These leaders helped spread the adoption message to employees via appropriate channels for each role and department. IT leaders can play a significant role in advancing OCM to better position their organizations for success.
How data can help: If data from the device and platform monitoring tools show user adoption is moving at a slower pace than anticipated, you can reevaluate the leaders selected as early adopters and consider whether other candidates might inspire employees more. It’s also worth connecting with participating leaders to explore different strategies for communication and motivation.
#3 – Give employees a single location to access information and training materials
It’s important not to assume people will intuitively know how to use a new tool or technology. One key component of this Teams migration project was developing a single place where the organization’s employees could access training resources. A training portal was embedded into Teams and accessible by all employees.
The organization also communicated inside the Teams ecosystem rather than relying only on email communication to share information about the project. Centralizing news and updates in one spot made it easy for users to find the information they needed about the migration.
Building the training portal in Teams also resulted in the obligatory use of the tool, which made the change behavior – using Teams for communications and collaboration – as smooth of an experience as possible. That fits the goal of change management, which is to make learning something new easier and free of barriers.
How data can help: Get feedback from your employees to increase adoption. Rather than accuse or chastise employees who are slow to adopt, find out what’s keeping them from using the new tool – whether through qualitative group surveys or one-on-one conversations – and discover alternate ways to support them. For instance, if an employee is concerned they can no longer complete a task like before, brainstorm workarounds and new methods that help them achieve the same – or even better – results.
#4: Develop a champions program
A champions program involves enlisting employees’ peers to advocate for the change. For best results, select advocates who have varying levels of seniority. They should be from different geographic regions and business units and possess different degrees of knowledge about the introduced technology.
These peers are invaluable in promoting adoption because they’re relatable to their colleagues and can share their personal adoption tips and tricks. In this organization’s Teams migration champions program, those who achieved the most impact in their groups received prizes, further encouraging adoption.
How data can help: Drilling down into usage data broken out by business unit, geography, role and other identifiers may show that one group is significantly behind or ahead on adoption. The data may indicate that another champion is needed or that an existing champion may benefit from connecting with other champions to explore what’s worked for them in persuading colleagues to make the change.
#5: Excite employees with gamification
Taking advantage of people’s competitive spirit, the Teams rollout involved collaborating with Microsoft to implement a gamification component. Every month, employees had the opportunity to take a quiz with questions about Teams. The questions started by testing basic knowledge of the platform and grew more complex over the months. Employees could also earn points redeemable for prizes as they completed certain tasks, which included:
- Participating in an ad-hoc meeting in Teams
- Calling an external organization and speaking with them via Teams
- Collaborating on a shared document in Teams
How data can help: Data gives you a baseline of user adoption immediately following launch. Then, as employees participate in gamification, you’ll identify potential training gaps or areas that require more attention.
Adopt strategies for successful OCM
Change is part of business, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for employees to navigate. However, focusing on the business objectives behind the technology implementation, recruiting leaders as early adopters, giving employees a training portal, choosing adoption champions and making adoption fun with gamification can help. Even better is the ability to tap into data insights to optimize all of these efforts.
Embracing these five techniques, which were effective for the organization, can ease change challenges and boost user adoption across your enterprise. Listen to the podcast for details on this success story and a breakdown of how to apply these techniques.