Adopting Microsoft Teams Successfully - The Importance of Effective Change Management

Exploring the Importance of Change Management and User Adoption When Adopting Microsoft Teams


Adopting Microsoft Teams in any organisation can mean a significant shift in working practices not to mention a new user interface with communications / collaboration features for your people to get to grips with. This blog explores the importance of utilising an effective ‘change management’ strategy to ensure the successful adoption of Microsoft Teams.


The first consideration is to ensure you treat the adoption of Microsoft Teams as a journey and that a considered process to support your users is the key to driving successful adoption and in turn the realisation of your investment into Teams.


Immediately you could be thinking this is going to take ages and is already starting to feel cumbersome. Don’t worry, what follows is a well-trodden and practiced approach, that if followed will give you the outcomes you’re looking for – Microsoft Teams enabling companywide effectiveness and productivity.


Technologies such as Teams which are deployed to support users to do more and work closer is fundamentally about underpinning the performance of your people and so making sure that these people understand ‘why’ this is important, what it means to them and feel supported through the process is well worth the investment and time taken.


The following gives us the clear steps in the process to successfully adopt Microsoft Teams:

1. Objectives – many organisations rollout technologies just because it’s the latest iteration, you should consider ‘why’ you want to utilise this technology. What will it mean to your company, how can it improve key processes and empower your users to achieve more and be more effective?


Understanding this will provide the basis for much of the key steps below and involving all the appropriate key stakeholders is a must, in fact their involvement early starts the process of getting buy-in from those whom you will later rely on later in the process.

2. Executive Sponsorship – the singularly most important factor when driving the successful adoption of Microsoft Teams or any other Microsoft technology is the backing of the right key sponsor. There are several reasons why this is important but fundamentally having someone senior representing the programme demonstrates its importance and the level of priority it represents.


Furthermore, the sponsor can ensure the appropriate time and resources can be placed on making the adoption successful and ensuring no conflict with other initiatives / priorities.

3. Empower Managers – it is not enough to simply tell people to adopt Teams – its all very well senior management deciding that Microsoft Teams is a smart move and will create efficiencies and time savings while helping people work closer across geographic boundaries. Your leaders need to understand and be able to assess how this will impact their various areas of the business on a day to day basis.


Get them involved earlier in the process than the wider users, seek their opinion, get them to deliberately think while they learn about the technology as to how, on a practical level, will you and your departments / teams use this technology.


If given this opportunity they will take ownership of the new ways of working and drive it through, because its their idea and not being thrust upon them.

4. Communication – the starting point here is to reinforce why we are communicating – in deciding to adopt Microsoft Teams we need to take our people on a journey, there are two types of messages which are important:


1.   Strategic - Why this is important as a strategic shift in how the organisations should work, adopting modern working practices to stay relevant and even ahead of the market.


2. What’s in it for me – this is practical and based on the user understanding how the technology will impact them directly


Furthermore, your people will want ‘strategic’ messages to come from those who actually make the strategic decisions – your key sponsor. What’s in it for me messages should come from line management so they feel the person delivering the message understands and will support them through the process.



5. Resistance – change of any kind can be scary, particularly when changing the tools we use to get our jobs done, we are all under pressure to perform and to produce and as such the shift to Microsoft Teams will mean learning a new technology, changes to processes, changes to the user interface you’re familiar with and perhaps the removal of core comms systems you rely on today (i.e. your current phone system). Therefore, resistance is both natural and likely, even more reason you need to ensure you take your people on a journey considering all the steps in the process but also that you expect resistance and enable users to have a voice and that concerns are dealt with fairly and positively.

6. Enablement – effective knowledge transfer is essential to the process, you can create your comms plan and get the users bought in to the process but unless they are enabled to use Teams it will all be wasted effort.


The key here is creating training that each user can immediately make a connection between how they work, the devices they use and the relevance to their role. This will help them relate to the information and be able to make mental links between the new features and functions and how it will work for them.


This sounds like a difficult and time-consuming process but with the appropriate platform to support the creation of these skills paths along with experience of matching roles and learning content, a small amount of effort can get you very tailored training.

7. Measurement – the stock response with regards to measurement of the utilisation of Microsoft Teams is to look at the stats suggesting usage. This is important but certainly not the inly true measure of success.


If your people are auto logging in and sending a few IM’s it could appear that the programme has been successful, and that Teams is being utilised. But are they using the platform in the right way for you to achieve your objectives – the reasons ‘why’ you wanted to implement the platform in the first place?


There are a few more key measures you will want to apply along the process to ensure you get to your ultimate goals.


·       Are your people engaging with the comms?


·       Are they engaging with the learning materials?


·       Are they understanding the content?


·       Do they feel they are learning new ways to be more productive?


·       Are there quantifiable time savings / productivity gains?


·       Do they feel what they are learning is a good use of their time?


·       Qualitative feedback that can contribute to continual improvements.




8. Reinforcement – Microsoft Teams is an ever-evolving platform with new features and functions constantly being added and what your users will learn today will undoubtedly be of value but there are two main issues that should be dealt with:


The platform is evergreen and new features and functions are constantly being added to continually support and empower how we all work.


We are all human and we forget things at an astounding rate – in fact unless we take deliberate steps to reinforce new knowledge very quickly, we forget about 90% of new information within 7 days.

The answer to both these issues is to provide a platform that enables the initial learning but then allows users to revisit the content as and when they need it to assist them on a practical level.

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