Lesson 4: Leaders who don’t value change management have staff who suffer the most

I find it is no longer a battle to have budget for Change Management in a project like in the early years. I have spent a lot of time explaining and justifying the role and benefit of a Change Manager during my career but over time it has become easier.
What I am focusing on here is not if a leader or organisation know and include change management, or ‘adoption’, in either project delivery or ongoing platform management, but seeing the value of a thorough change program.
The reason being, many projects feel they have change management covered by some communication to staff and then training for the ‘go-live’. They send an IT update style email and upload a video, share a YouTube link or give access to LinkedIn Learning and think things are sorted. When I see this, I feel it is the leaders who don’t take time to understand change method and key activities, along with how they can drive project success, who have staff that suffer from an experience that could have been better.

Why do I think staff suffer?

We are all busy doing out jobs and trying to keep across enhancements in technology.
Sure, some people are savvy and dive into it. But from my experience through focus groups, survey and support employees across many organisations, people are struggling and not given enough support.

Give them videos, and even if they even watch once and move on, most of the knowledge and skills are not absorbed. Give them self-paced learning, they wont access it.
I have reviewed data for LinkedIn Learning and the Brainstorm platform as examples and found most employees have only logged in once and not even fully setup their profile.

Now you might think here, it’s the employees lack of motivation not a leaders fault, but I see this as an organisation not driving awareness, desire and in particular not dealing with resistance.

When a change program is made a bigger priority with the deeper analysis, engagement, and phases of learning and support for staff, people notice and take part leading to much greater success overall.

Microsoft Teams is a great example here.

Any company that thinks they can implement the application, run some training and then feel things are sorted is misguided.

While you need to not only review the employee use cases and impacts, prepare staff and have a detailed experience and support available, there also needs to be ongoing guidance and support. It is more complex that any initial go-live and needs to be viewed as a journey not a project that closes and leaves employees to work the rest out.
Firstly, you cannot expect staff to learn from one-off training and then over time grow skills. And secondly, they need support and guidance through ongoing updates.

Microsoft 365 applications are not about a project launch, but cultural change.
And not utilising a Change Manager beyond some awareness communication or organising training is going to lead to stagnated use, gaps in knowledge and not drive innovation in process or ways of working.

What about the other tools?

For the other tools, it is important to acknowledge the focus isn’t training but understanding how the business can use and benefit from each tool.
Again, you cannot enable applications and provide online content for self-paced learning. People need the opportunity to learn, have discussions, try it in their daily work, workshop ideas, get support, give feedback etc.
It’s a journey and requires Change Management, Learning, IT, and other key stakeholders to understand the ideal business and employee experience.

Leaders who think that Microsoft 365 requires just an email update and a video are letting their employees down. You need to invest in the full ADKAR, and very much in the ‘R’ for ‘reinforcement’.

Over time, as we see new features and applications, employees need to understand the use, example scenarios, have time for learning in the flow of work not just a single video, and the organisation needs to foster ongoing growth and innovation. This is where staff will see support and value across the platform. Don’t go cheap, allow adequate budget and focus in change management to drive this success.

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