Training - the Most Overlooked Communication Method for OCM

4 minute read

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” –Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO 

 

Organizational Change Management requires rigorous communication. Leaders advise individuals within the organization that change is coming. They talk about what the change is, how it will affect work and what it means for the organization. But change management doesn’t end there. Successful change management initiatives include “how” employees will adopt the change. Or, rather, training. 

Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” You invest time and money in digital transformation initiatives. They’re disruptiveImplementation takes time, and user adoption takes more time. Effective training shrinks the time it takes for users to adopt the training and increases adoption rates – so you can make the most of your investment as soon as possible. 

Besides, research shows that companies who invest in continually training their employees recruit and retain top talentTraining should be an obvious element to your OCM Communication Plan. You can’t afford to lose your top talent, you can’t afford to implement a change employees won’t adopt and you can’t afford to keep legacy systems while your competitors move into the 21st century. 

Fear not! Training does not need to be a Herculean effort. If you laid the groundwork with a solid communication plan, you already identified who you’re training, you outlined your communication plan for the training and you have a follow-up plan. Training  addresses the “how.” Adoption rates improve when individuals know how to use the new technology and how it will make their job better. 

 

Who are you training? 

Your communication plan identifies and segments your audience. Leverage your initial work  to identify your training segments. They should include champions, early adopters, pragmatic adopters, cautious adopters and risk-averse adopters. Tap your champions first. 

These are your training heroes. The tech-savvy corporate Herculeses who are receptive to change adopt the technology early and learn it well enough to do the heavy lifting when it comes to departmental training. 

Champions are respected in their departments and have a good sense of the people who make up the remaining segments within their department. They are often managers with the necessary soft skills to shepherd the cautious and risk-averse to adopt the technology. 

Other early adopters will likely be very excited about the new change and ready to try everything. They’re typically tech-savvy and give good feedback when something doesn’t work. They’ll give you good ideas for solutions to problems that other users may encounter. They may even be able to assist the champions in training the other segments. 

Pragmatic adopters want to know that someone else has been successful with the technology before jumping in with both feet. This segment typically likes working with technology but may not be as excited about potential disruptions to their workflow. Often, when they see their peers using the new technology successfully, they embrace the change. 

Cautious adopters want to know that the technology works and that the change is worth their time. As with the other segments, when they realize the technology will make their work easier, they’ll more readily adopt the change. This group may require more training than the others so it’s important to allow for that. And it may make sense to train most of these folks toward the end – when the technology has already been proven effective. 

Risk-averse adopters may not like technology at all. They may see it as more detrimental to how they work and not want to invest time in training. They may not like using technology. Or they may worry that the technology will replace their job. It’s important to identify this group and address their concerns early and often to ensure they don’t derail the project.  Show them how workflows can replace redundant tasks and allow them to focus on more meaningful work and grow in their careers. 

Often, risk-averse adopters need to feel like their employers hear their concerns. By identifying this group early on, you can address their concerns. Reassure them that the technology will help them grow and not replace them. 

 

Create a training plan. 

Now that you’ve identified your training segments, you need a plan. Bring your department heroes into this phase. They’ll help you formulate your training strategy, because they know their teams better than anyone else.  

Effective strategies include a variety of instructional formats including in-person group training, online training and individual training. Your champions can identify the instructional formats best suited to each segment – and help structure the training appropriately within their department. 

Your plan should also allow training to happen in increments to ensure minimal departmental disruption. Design the training so that team members who’ve completed it are confident about the new technology and can help usher in excitement as you continue to train throughout the organization. 

 

Over Communicate 

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to OCM. Remember, training at its core is a form of communication. It’s essential to communicate your training plan and goals to each team. Reassure team members that training will be minimally disruptive to their workday. Help them understand the “why” behind the technology. They’ll likely want to know – 

How will it make their job easier? 

How will it help them focus on meaningful work? 

How will it impact the bottom line? 

Incorporate answers to these questions into your training so that users are frequently reminded of them as they move through the course and remain excited about the change. 

 

Be available for follow-up several weeks after the training.  

It’s important to check in with end-users after training to ensure that the technology is truly working for them. Learning something new takes time. As people practice, their new skills become second nature. Checking in after employees have started using the technology helps you identify end-users post-training difficulties and find ways to fix them. 

Comprehensive training should also be part of the onboarding process. Nothing is worse than starting a new job with new technologies and no direction on how to use those technologies. New hires deserve the same comprehensive technology training that existing employees received at launch. 

At the end of the day, good trainers acknowledge there’s more to learn. Incorporate periodic refresher courses into your training plan so employees can keep their skills sharp. 

Training is crucial for a successful digital transformation. By working with an experienced service provider like Crossfuze and products like SmartLaunch and ManagedNow, you’ll have access to a training plan template that checks all the boxes as you move into the training phase of your implementation. Your partner will have insights to help you ensure adoption success. If you’d like to learn more about how Crossfuze can help you with your digital transformation, reach out at LetsTalk@crossfuze.com. 

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