We launched a digital platform based on Microsoft Office 365 for a business segment with ten departments to optimize their intern communication and collaboration, accompanied by a multi-stage change process. In the course of the department rollouts the associates were trained to use the new functionalities and got to know the new ways of working. In order to transform the change to a daily routine in thinking and acting it needs more. According to a study by Capgemini in 2017, a successful digital culture change depends on the integration of the associates and their initiative. The biggest barriers for the digital change are a missing communication with the associates, silo thinking as well as not having a strategy for copying with the fears of the employees.
To approach these challenges at an early stage, change management has an essential role in all our projects. At the very beginning of each project, we develop a change strategy together with our customer. Derived from this strategy, we create activities that accompany the rollout before, during and afterwards. Therefore, an essential part of the change is the CIP – short for continuous improvement process – to guarantee a long-term success of the change.
Our use case of a continuous improvement and change process
In the given example, we conducted the following activities:
- Building a key user community
- Communicating transparently with the associates
- Offering trainings and space for feedback and discussions
Building a key user community
For every department we have at least named one key user, who was available as a contact person for us and who supported his or her colleagues during and still supports them after the rollout. Therefore, the key user acts as voice for us and for the change. Since the project has already ended, we established a monthly key user meeting, where they can exchange thoughts, positive and negative feedback and discuss improvements.
Communicating transparently with the associates
The highest good of any change is the transparent communication and the respectful interaction with the associates. To integrate them in the change process and to inform them about the project developments, is very important. Therefore, we placed our information about the change and the development in monthly employee meetings as well as in the company social network Yammer in order to give space for discussion.
Offering trainings and space for feedback and discussions
Often associates don’t feel confident to give feedback or to ask for help. Therefore, we offered short training sessions after the rollout over a time of seven months. Associates needed to register for the sessions. To arouse the interest, we published first tips and information about the training topics on Yammer and on a videowall in the workspace.
During the 1,5-hour training we focused on topics such as the SharePoint search and metadata as well as OneDrive and OneNote. Within the trainings the associates not only learned new tips and tricks, but also got space to practice, ask questions and give feedback. To accommodate the associates, we created a huge poster, where we asked them to pin their feedback. In this way they didn’t need to give their feedback directly, but we also collected their thoughts and wishes. After the training the participants and also the other associates received the training materials for further practicing.
For every project it is important to continuously make the users aware of the change. But don’t focus on the technical functionalities, but on the individual benefit. Especially users that don’t want to deal with change, can be encouraged to try and test the new way of working by implementing these kinds of activities. If you would only wait for them to ask for these kind of support, you would never get the same penetration of change.
But only time will tell, if the change has really been sustainably implemented in the daily work and culture. For us creating activities around the change process makes most fun, because this step evolves around the user of the change and not around the technology. Of course, it is always a challenge, but also the chance to get to know the user and their fears better.