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Maintain your Adoption Change Management strategy with these 7 steps

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After you’ve successfully designed and implemented an Adoption Change Management (ACM) strategy, you might think your mission is accomplished. While it’s satisfying to believe you’ve done everything you can, this feeling ultimately comes at the expense of productivity.

The reality is, most Adoption Change Management initiatives require regular maintenance based on the technology and people within your organization. After all, psychologists have proven people are inexplicably averse to change — even if that change poses clear benefits.

That’s why it's critical businesses consider the "people" factor when it comes to creating and implementing their adoption change management strategy. Unfortunately, in the whirlwind of implementing a change management strategy, the opinions of employees tend to fall to the wayside — in fact, a study by Prosci found that 33 percent of organizations had no plan to reinforce their change initiative among employees.

It’s crucial to go back and assess how employees are using the new technology and identify certain employees who are having trouble adopting a certain solution. By following the steps below, you can uncover a framework to help you fully maintain an existing change management strategy.

1. Collect data

When determining what is needed to maintain or improve upon an Adoption Change Management strategy, start with data. If your initial change management strategy included goals and benchmarks, this step will be simple. Simply collect data regarding the usage and productivity of employees that were affected by the change management strategy, and compare that data to your goals. If you fall a bit short, revisit your ACM strategy with employees or department levels that are falling the furthest behind. Remember: it is important to place focus on both the individual and on the group or department level as a whole. While implementation may seem like a very singular process, it is really about the team as a whole.

Also, if you didn’t initially benchmark, start now. Collect usage and productivity data, and prepare to work with leadership to quantify your adoption goals. There is plenty of resistance to the collection and analysis of usage data in individual users, so you will want to begin your journey with each department level to keep things moving forward. This will put you in a position to identify areas that need improvement, and this data can always be revisited later to measure the success of your maintenance efforts.

2. Identify areas for improvement

When it comes to change, you have to know what to improve in order to create a solid foundation for a successful implementation. Use the data you collected to outline exactly what needs to improve, and how much improvement is needed. Look at this from the perspective of entire departments as well as individual employees.

Once you’ve outlined groups that are falling behind, make sure you have a specialized adoption program for each group. For instance, if you’re adopting Microsoft 365, the finance team may be more responsive if the benefits framed through the context of compliance. On the other hand, traveling salespeople may need the convenience of SharePoint and OneDrive reiterated to them.

3. Understand why there is resistance

When you originally enacted your ACM strategy, individuals were asked to step up, certain parts of their role changed, and they were asked to develop new skills. It’s safe to say that not everyone will be completely on board with a change this significant, and heavy resistance from even one individual can threaten the success of a new initiative. 

If you don’t acknowledge and address the complications associated with this fundamental shift, you could experience a loss of morale and productivity. All the while, your maintenance plan won’t be making any headway. It’s crucial to not only find employees that resist new technology but learn why they're resisting change.

Perhaps you did not effectively communicate the benefits of the change to everyone involved or didn’t do enough to explain the benefits to those who are expressing the most resistance. It could simply be they don’t understand the importance of the new technology, and identifying misunderstandings and clearing them up could go a long way towards their willingness to adapt. 

4. Explain your findings to leadership

When creating or maintaining an ACM strategy, it’s essential to look to the top for guidance and sponsorship throughout the change management cycle. Whether it’s upper management or stakeholders, all have different expectations and roles, and it’s critical that you present a solid case to achieve a high level of "buy-in" straight from the top. This can go a long way towards motivating the rest of the organization. 

However, top-level management is not the only group that needs to approve of an ACM maintenance strategy. For best results, directly contact managers whose teams are having challenges adopting new technology. Since they have personal connections with their subordinates, getting their buy-in plays a significant role in ensuring adoption.

It’s important to give leadership and managers regular updates on your maintenance initiative so they’re kept aware of your progress on strategic objectives. If you can quantify and demonstrate success with your ACM maintenance programs, leadership could become your biggest proponents.

5. Continuously communicate with employees

Once you have leadership on board, it’s time to move to the team. Change management strategies are focused on the people involved, which makes it key to address any issues that might arise among the people most impacted by the change. Primarily, the team needs to demonstrate an ongoing understanding of the problem and why change is necessary, which will go a long way towards getting them to support the upcoming situation.

Communicating with employees is fundamental to creating this understanding. Never assume that those involved were made fully aware of the who, what, where, when — and arguably the most important factor of "why". Those impacted need to see the new direction and reasons behind it as clearly as those leading the ACM strategy, which involves open, clear communication throughout the change management process.

Each person needs to understand not only why the change is happening, but how it can benefit them. How will their day-to-day activities be affected? Why should they support this change? By communicating before the implementation, you’re better prepared to create a personalized approach to preparing different groups throughout the company. This helps garner support for the change and throughout the process.

6. Seek employee feedback & provide support

Communication has to be a two-way street in order for a change to be successful. Those impacted need to know that they can ask questions, vent frustrations, and even communicate what’s working well throughout the process. This can be done through everything from regular meetings to solutions-oriented email surveys, all with the goal of not only getting valuable insight into how the process is going and where additional support may be needed but also demonstrating to those involved that their opinions and concerns are being valued and taken into consideration.

7. Review results

Once you’ve spent a few weeks encouraging cultural change, it’s critical that you review how things went, taking into account what worked, what didn’t, and how you can revise the process for similar endeavors in the future. Now is also a good time to once again solicit feedback from those involved so that the process can be fine-tuned and any issues that may have occurred can be proactively addressed the next time around. 

When employees know that you’re listening and actively working to resolve their concerns, they’re less likely to think of the change management process as a hindrance. Getting and maintaining this positive attitude is essential to a successful ACM strategy. Having employees that are aligned with your motivations will accelerate adoption, but having them against you can create seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Keeping your ACM strategy competitive

A good adoption and change management strategy should never lose steam, it should be embedded in the framework of your organization. It’s not just about one technological change, but rather a rethinking of your organizational culture and how your company is able to handle radical change. Culture change is never easy, and it’s never done in a few quick steps — persistence is key.

When done poorly, it creates stress and confusion, with employees wondering why changes are occurring and why their feedback wasn’t taken into consideration. But when done correctly, your organization can not only survive — it can thrive — and create a blueprint for changes in the future.

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Get a deep dive into your ACM strategy

Whether you’re implementing or maintaining your strategy, let us cross-check it.

Get a deep dive into your ACM strategy

Whether you’re implementing or maintaining your strategy, let us cross-check it.


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