Our partner company nSynergy has been providing specialist SharePoint Consulting Services since 2004, helping to give businesses the competitive edge. nSynergy places a strong emphasis on knowledge transfer throughout client engagements to ensure the long-term sustainability of programs. nSynergy have engaged the services of our change management experts at Apricot to successfully implement User Adoption initiatives that will compliment current approaches to technology enablement. Today’s article will address two important components of change; business alignment and people engagement, and will provide further detail about how we at Apricot work to implement change.
Grounded first in assessment, at Apricot we prepare our clients for the journey that they need to make by assessing the current organizational climate. Business alignment is essential to the adoption framework because without it, businesses will not be able to build momentum or keep adoption levels high enough to provide continuous, ongoing value. It involves the assessment of five key areas:
- Organizational Assessment
- Vision, Mission and Values
- Project Management
Organizational Assessment involves understanding organizational structures and leadership paradigms. We identify the ‘key players’ who we will be working alongside to initiate change, and who is best equipped to influence change among the group.
Coalition highlights the need to create a sense of urgency and momentum around the need for change with key stakeholders. We work to convey the message that change is being implemented for the greater good of the business, to help staff function more efficiently, not simply for the sake of change.
Creating a simple vision and mission that people can grasp and remember is central to the change process. At Apricot, we ensure that staff members (at all levels) are involved in the development of organizational values. This helps employees who may not be commonly involved in decision-making processes to identify with, and express ownership over the long-term vision of the organization.
When implementing change, Project Management involves establishing a holistic strategy, plan, timeline, and milestones to ensure that the change lasts. When ‘wins’ are made (i.e., successful completion of certain milestones) we aim to implement processes that recognize and reward achievement.
Following the assessment of processes relating to business alignment, people engagement strategies can be implemented. The five key components of people engagement include:
- Cultural Assessment
- Key Influencers
Culture is the engine room of the organization. The best way to measure an organization’s culture is to engage with its employees and learn about “how we do things around here.” Any consultant entering a new organization is required to take note of its culture and adapt accordingly. Apricot founder and CEO Derek Linsell was once the CEO of the AFL Foundation, a predominantly male sporting environment where irreverent language is often considered the norm. In stark contrast, Derek has also worked extensively with the Salvation Army, an evangelistic organization dedicated to helping the poor and unfortunate by bringing them into a meaningful relationship with God. In both cases, it was imperative that Derek be aware of the organizational culture in order to engage employees and be accepted by the group. It would have been inappropriate for Derek to use poor language in the presence of Salvation Army Officers, just as it would have been inappropriate for him to initiate a meeting with AFL executives by opening in prayer. Culture is related to productivity, and we at Apricot are aware that it heavily impacts analysis, planning, risk and ultimately the success of user adoption initiatives.
Recognition processes promoted by Apricot encourage positive behaviors by linking them to performance, rewards, and goal achievement. Similar to the implementation of taxonomies for collaboration, recognition process provide clear guidelines and promote standards of behaviour that employees are encouraged to strive for.
When introducing new IT solutions, we at Apricot ensure that employees understand new methods for viral and programmatic communication. Employees should feel supported and understand that there are structures in place for when assistance is required.
Importantly, establishing programs for onboarding, ongoing learning, and knowledge retention is vital for the change process to be effective. New staff members need to be properly educated and trained in new processes, not simply shown the ‘old way’ by employees who have not properly adopted the new system. In addition, employees should have access to ongoing training, and learning should be assessed regularly, either formally or informally.
Similar to understanding organizational structures and leadership paradigms during the business alignment process of change, we believe it is necessary to identify and empower advocates who will inspire others to engage. It is equally important to defuse resistors (i.e., find out what forces or people might dampen enthusiasm). In most cases, 20% of the group will feel positive about change, 20% will feel opposed to change, and the remaining 60% will be unsure about change. Our aim at Apricot is to engage the middle 60% to bring the proportion of the group who are positive to 80%. In order to this we work with organizational leaders and make sure that they are intentional about promoting change and demonstrating their own adoption of new strategies. After all, a new IT solution is only successful if people use it.
Our final thoughts
Adding user adoption solutions to technology enablement leads to a more attractive, comprehensive package and an improved ability sell. Furthermore, deeper engagement with customers can lead to ongoing relationships, additional projects and increased revenue. A win for everyone.