How To Create Effective Change Management for Software Roll-Outs
At LearnChamp we support companies in implementing HR management systems on a daily basis. Often we are contacted by HR- or HR-IT-staff when they realize that the intended target group does not appreciate their carefully planned projects. The reasons for that can be manifold. I will be looking at one of them: The positioning of an implementation project with stakeholders and employees.
In most cases companies aim to improve an existing process by introducing a new HR tool. For example, one of our clients replaced their existing learning management system with SAP SuccessFactors Learning. The old system was neither user friendly nor intuitive. The users only logged into the LMS very reluctantly and only when it was absolutely necessary.
To use a new tool to its full potential and to ensure that it is perceived positively, a multi-step process is necessary in our experience: First, your employees and stakeholders have to be convinced of your initiative. Second, they have to be enabled to use the system without obstacles.
To convince skeptics, stakeholders and employees of your project it is not enough to send out a system-generated welcome e-mail. You need a sophisticated overall concept:
- Analyze your users’ needs and identify different target groups
- Work out the key message(s) of your initiative
- Be sure to consistently use the same wording and images
- Identify the communication channels at your disposal at an early stage
- Get other departments on board. Maybe the marketing department is already planning to issue flyers soon and you can piggyback on that.
This lays the foundation. Now for the first implementations: Design the positioning of your initiative with important shareholders and executives as if it were a kind of sales pitch. To convince these people in key positions you can use storytelling. Create a marketing kit — this can be a PowerPoint presentation. Clearly outline the why of your initiative and explain the added value for this specific target group.
After winning over these people, appoint them as change agents to position your initiative informally. Change agents also act as spokespersons in different teams. Transport for London und The Edrington Group have already recognized the importance of change agents.
You will neither have the time nor the resources to contact each employee personally. And there is no need for that. Make use of the communication channels you have identified previously. From our experience the following measures were successful in such campaigns:
- Short, professional videos are always popular. Ask a well-known and respected stakeholder (who you have previously won as a change agent) for a video testimonial.
- Create a landing page to act as the pivot your measures are centering around. Here you can make all relevant information available to employees. Additionally you can integrate short videos explaining the system and a direct link to the LMS. The major advantage of such a landing page is that is allows you to track which content is working well and which less so.
- Print: Make your new initiative visible! Use posters, flyers, etc. to continue to be visually present for the target group.
- Any system-roll out is incomplete without a multi-step e-mail campaign. Use this channel to announce your initiative, introduce your landing page and to link to the new system. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Of course it is essential to train the admins as they will eventually have to operate and maintain the system. But to ensure high-levels of user adoption it is almost as important to familiarize end user with the new tool. This should best happen right at the beginning, e.g. with short click guides or webinars in which people with experience in using the system present the tool. This ensures you avoid user mistakes which can later lead to resentment against the new software.
Another possibility for presentations are live demos in your offices: Announce a road show via e-mail and landing page. At these events you can present the system e.g. in the cafeteria and address personal questions.
When all goes well you will at this point have convinced all skeptics, stakeholders and employees of your project and won some as change agents. You have attracted attention via video, mail and print campaigns. And you have enabled your users to utilize the system to its full potential. It can be said the roll-out was a success. But you also want to have positive feedback a few months from now. In order to do so, you need targeted post-go-live activities:
- Spread the word about initial success stories thanks to the new solution.
- Continue to use e-mails to send out system updates.
- After a while, survey your employees on possible improvements. Make sure the survey only includes areas in which you can actually still make changes or which you can influence post-implementation.
It is not enough to simply implement a new system for your employees without showing them how to use it. Make them aware of personal added value and convince your target group with targeted incentives. The “go-live” of your HR management software is only the beginning of your initiative. To keep the user numbers high over the long-term you have to position yourself positively in the minds of your users.
This concept can not only be applied to the roll-out of a learning management system. You can use the same measures — with slight adaptations — when implementing a new learning campaign or when rolling out a new performance management system, and much more.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions on that topic or if you want to add something.
Originally published at blog.learnchamp.com.