Office 365 Adoption: overcoming resistance to change
The great thing about Office 365 is it includes a lot of tools you can use to be more productive, but just like having a tool box with everything you need and more. However, in many instances such a move could just go down as “yet another failed IT project”, if change management activities are not planned for.
Top 10 mistakes often made with Office 365 adoption projects, and how to get it right.
Many organisations still struggle to get their employees to make good use of new technologies available to them. In this 5 part series we’ll be taking a look at the top 10 mistakes that are commonly seen throughout an Office 365 roll-out and provide some simple measures that can be put in place to dramatically increase Office 365 adoption and usage rates.
In this first post we’ll be tacking the challenge of employee resistance to adopting Office 365.
Mistake 1: Underestimating employee resistance to change
Benchmarking studies have repeatedly identified that the number one obstacle to success for major change management projects is employee resistance. It’s not all doom and gloom through, as a dip in productivity and an increase in resistance is normal and expected in any change project.
Think of it this way, getting change project wrong can be an expensive process.
Here are some likely sources of resistance for Office 365 change:
- Employees who are highly invested in their current ways of working – namely via convoluted workarounds. Ultimately, they have found a way to work and want to stick with it. They collaborate, and share using other technologies and invested their time in doing this with no support from the organisation.
- In many cases of failed Office 365 change and adoption projects is employees who expect more work as a result of the change. The logic is, ‘it’s going to be more difficult’, ‘it’s going to make my job harder’ and ‘I’ll have to migrate my documents to the new system’.
How to overcome this:
There needs to be emphasis placed on recognising that resistance is the natural reaction to change. You also must consider the people impact of the change activities that are being planned. If you find that a whole department is resistant don’t be afraid to work around them. Create a sponsor network and push all communications top down throughout your organisation.
Once a clear and concise message is in place, resistance should start to subside.
How do we discover resistance to change within an organisation? Let’s take the working example of managing staff scheduling and shifts.
Mistake 2: not understanding the root causes for employee resistance
In many instances an inherent lack of awareness as to why the change is being made is often a major downfall within any failed change project – particularly within Office 365 projects. There is no understanding of “what’s in it for me” as a result of this change. With a lack of understanding there can be instances of employees asking, “what’s wrong with the way I work now”. There could also be issues with understanding who is taking charge of certain aspects of the migration project. For example, if you were as an organisation moving from GSuite to Office 365, employees may need more help in identifying which Google Docs to migrate to PowerPoint.
Another key reason for a failed change project is the perception of an organisation’s past performance with change – we have never done change right; communications, sponsorship, training have all been lacking.
Demonstrating the logical reason for the change is crucial, otherwise it could risk looking like another bureaucratic mishap – change for changes sake.
Lack of visible support and commitment from managers:
Here’s the big one that crops up time and time again – fear of job loss. This issue will arise part in parcel with a lack of awareness and understanding – if you are going from paper based (yes it still exists) to digital – Office 365 – this might cross the minds of your employees.
Face the issues:
It is possible that someone within your organisation has identified a real issue within the change project that hasn’t been captured and this is being surfaced as resistance. It could be something as simple as not being able to use Custom Fonts when co-authoring online as opposed to the native Office Desktop Apps.
This can be overcome quite simply by conducting user research at the start of your project. This will assist you in identifying any day-to-day processes that may be affected as a result of the change. Ultimately, managing resistance means being prepared to listen first and understand the pain points of the people who will actually be using the technologies day-in day-out.
People want to be heard:
For many people, even if they know that the change is going to happen, they simply want to be genuinely heard. If you can demonstrate that you have listened, then often they will then decide to participate in the change.
Embrace resistance, it’s not all bad:
Recognise that resistance can be an extremely positive sign that the person really is passionate about getting this right and that should be celebrated too.
Listen, really listen and then clarify. Sometimes in the listening process, it becomes clear that there is a misunderstanding with what is trying to be achieved. Once this is clarified the resistance might disappear.
Complete Guide to Office 365 Adoption
Many organisations still struggle to get their employees to make good use of new technologies available to them. This guide will explore the top 10 mistakes that are commonly seen throughout an Office 365 roll-out and provide some simple measures that can be put in place to dramatically increase Office 365 adoption and usage rates.
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