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Use This Template to Help Users Embrace New Communications Technology

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It’s an all too common situation: An organization rolls out new technology to great fanfare, only to have it sit idle a few months down the road – the victim of insufficient enthusiasm and uptake.

If you’re concerned that a new communications technology will suffer from slow adoption or outright resistance, it’s a justifiable fear. But there are steps you can take to ensure that new technologies will be embraced and used to their fullest potential.

First and foremost, keep in mind that this isn’t just about changing technology, it’s also about changing culture. To completely replace the old way of doing things, you need a comprehensive rollout and communications plan designed to alter behavior. As a result, you need to think about efforts before, during and after launch.

With that in mind, use the template below to help ensure a successful rollout, strong adoption and a complete transformation.

Stage One: Pre-Launch

  • Conduct a post-mortem on prior rollouts. Which ones were successful and why? What were the reasons that others failed? These reviews yield valuable ideas, along with critical intelligence about what not to do.
  • Secure an executive sponsor. Without support from the top, your plan isn’t likely to move beyond the starting line.
  • Recruit early adopters. Engage cross-functional advocates in the research and selection of any new solution. Once you have their buy-in, it will be easier to convince more skeptical employees of your new system’s value.

Stage Two: Launch

  • Communicate early and often. Employees need time to acclimate to change. Rollout communications should begin well before the first phase of the switchover. Explain what changes are coming, why you’re doing it and what benefits you hope to achieve.
  • Celebrate the launch. Bring in your internal communications and marketing teams to organize and promote a launch event. Entice users to view demos of the new solution, and make the experience more fun by possibly offering branded swag or refreshments. Build excitement using every form of communication at your disposal: email, signage, intranet, web conferencing and employee newsletters to name a few.
  • Be ready to train on day one. Ride the momentum from your event and begin training immediately. Be clear on how, when and where people can get access to training materials, modules and sessions.
  • Make use of ambassadors. Your early adopter engagement starts to pay off when you launch an ambassador program. Word-of-mouth is a powerful driver of adoption, so be sure to provide your advocates with a clear outline of what you need them to do.

Stage Three: Post-Launch

This is the point at which most rollouts begin to fail, so treat it as the most important part of your program. Don’t put on the brakes. Accelerate.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t let your rollout fall off employees’ radar. Deliver regular communications highlighting features and success stories from around your organization. Continually gather feedback using employee surveys, quick polls or informal conversations.
  • Embed into performance management. Adoption rates improve when people are held accountable. Work with managers to set adoption goals for their team. For example, customer service goals could reflect the percentage of issues resolved via chat.
  • Create executive influence. Culture change comes from the top, so the advocates most likely to influence user adoption rates are your executives. Ask them to be visible and vocal about their use of the new system.

By making adoption – not deployment – your primary goal, you’ll increase your chances of crossing the finish line with flags flying. Just be sure to keep your foot on the pedal until every single employee is an enthusiastic user of your new communications technology.

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