No One Likes Change

Effectively managing change in your organization is part public relations effort, part culture shift and part value promotion. If you’re embarking on your Office 365 journey, you might assume that once your employees hear about the shiny, new programs available to them, they’ll naturally jump on the bandwagon and be excited to try them out. However, reality may differ.

According to a PWC survey, only about half of transformation initiatives accomplish and sustain their goals. There are many reasons for this disappointing statistic, such as “change fatigue” – making too many changes at once – and excluding frontline workers from the development and execution of the change plan. In fact, nearly half of employees surveyed said they don’t even understand the change they’re being asked to make. (Sounds like someone sabotaged their adoption plan, doesn’t it?) So let’s take a closer look at some of the major obstacles to successfully implementing change.

Change can seem threatening

You probably have employees of many different ages and levels of both experience and technological-savviness in your company. Your youngest employees may have been born with a cell phone in hand, while older ones still remember when handheld calculators were the next big thing. In any successful adoption and change management plan, you have to take into account these characteristic differences.

Consider creating tactics in your change management plan that speak to each of these identified groups to ensure that everyone feels like they’re a part of a cohesive goal. This will help to maintain high morale during these changes, which is essential to making the changes stick.

Texas Instruments created the handheld calculator in 1967. Today, the model resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Some employees may believe the “old way of doing things” works just fine and resist getting on board with new programs due to a fear of change. They might think that “increased productivity” translates into a way for upper management to eventually whittle down the workforce. First impressions are important and they may resist buying into the new technology because of the way it was introduced. Or they may be reluctant to adopting a new program because they feel they don’t have time to stop and learn it while maintaining their current workload.

Your well-developed training program can help alleviate all of these concerns, by showing users how increased productivity makes them a more valuable employee or how spending 30 minutes to learn a new tool now saves them hours in the future.

Culture is ignored in change management

For most established organizations, their processes and cultures weren’t built for a digital world. At some point they’ll be forced to reevaluate and change, at the risk of becoming obsolete. Since you’ve already implemented Office 365 or are considering it, you’re likely a progressive person who sees the effect of digital transformation and understands that it’s a “when” not an “if” for your company. However, changing company culture and processes is not always easy and not something one person can do on their own.

Culture is reinforced at every level of an organization in both overt and subdued ways, and a digital-forward culture significantly contributes to the success of Office 365 adoption. Consider having Executives use applications like Yammer to communicate with staff, which will encourage them to log in and interact with the program. Building an extensive network of champions who can demonstrate the benefits of the changes to their colleagues is very powerful and helps to reinforce the message of adoption, as well.

Dropping the ball at the height of change

Oftentimes, change is hard before it is easy. You’ll likely experience resistance in the beginning of your Office 365 journey, before enthusiasm has taken hold. As you begin to execute your adoption and change management plan, you’ll see confidence and excitement building, which is the perfect time to capitalize on all of the positive sentiments by promoting the wins you’ve had with Office 365.

All too often, adoption and change management efforts get put on the back burner when it seems like Office 365 solutions have been widely adopted by the organization. However, if not all users have been trained sufficiently or if there are other roadblocks to program usage, you risk alienating staff and sabotaging adoption entirely.

Change management is a large undertaking and not every team has the resources to fully support it internally. Find out more about how we help organizations execute a flawless Office 365 change management plan, or fill out the form below and we’ll help you make sure you don’t miss any steps.

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