A few months ago, sales executive Glenn gave up on his organisation’s intranet after never being able to find the information he needed. Around the same time, Steve, the IT director at Glenn’s work, decided to find a way to improve the organisation’s information governance.
Steve has since decided to replace the organisation’s clunky old intranet with a new version. That way he can make sure the information architecture and information governance are right from the start.
There’s just one problem. The success of any intranet depends on whether people actually use it, and Steve isn’t sure how to get disengaged users like Glenn on board.
In part three of our four-post series on intranet success, we’ll explain why it’s important to keep users engaged from the very beginning, and offer advice on how to make that happen.
Why it’s worth involving users in change management
You can create positive energy and build momentum by including users at all stages of an intranet implementation.
By getting user buy-in early, you’ll not only gain valuable insights from those who will use the system, but you will also have strong advocates that will help promote it to others.
Users who feel that they are part of the change processes rather than bystanders will be more likely to embrace the change when it occurs and advocate the solution to their network of peers.
Some ways you can get users involved in the change management process before launch are:
- involve them in user-testing
- invite them to identify any information gaps
- facilitate discussion of best practice or common processes
- run feedback workshops to help users understand why change is necessary
- demonstrate how the change will benefit them
- stay connected and communicate relevant developments frequently
- offer users the opportunity to provide input into areas such as system requirements, process design and end-user training requirements.
How to encourage participation
Here are some tips for keeping users engaged once your solution is up and running.
Identify people in each work area to act as change champions
This is an informal way to provide education and support to others from someone they know and trust. It works best if your change champions are influential, knowledgeable, approachable and have strong communication skills.
Seek ongoing informal feedback on how others are adopting the new intranet
Use the feedback to develop follow-up activities as part of continuous improvement, such as additional training.
Involve key users in the delivery of training
This will upskill both the trainers and the end users.
Build a strong feedback loop to prevent small problems escalating
It’s important for users who give feedback to know their concerns are acted upon where possible.
You can make sure that your activities stay on the right track and are relevant to users by doing the following.
- Include all work teams in the implementation process to minimise the chance of gaps in the final solution.
- Identify critical success factors for each work group. This will have a direct impact on the extent to which users adopt the new solution.
- Limit the number of end users involved in each stage to keep the scope of the project manageable. This will stop the chances of too many people asking for too much, too soon.
- Seek up-front involvement from users. This will pay off as they develop a sense of ownership of the new system and become more likely to show commitment and responsibility.
- Build in support so those who need training can schedule it in.
By including users throughout your intranet implementation, you can guide them to understand why change is necessary and how it will benefit them.
Engaged users can provide valuable insights and help drive and sustain the use of your intranet well into the future.