Research shows that most change initiatives fail. However, there's a powerful tool you can utilize to pave the way for success: change management. Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. The goal of change management is to minimize the negative effects of a transition and ensure that desired outcomes are achieved. In this article, we walk through strategies you can use to utilize change management for a successful rollout of 15Five.
Change management tips for a successful rollout
In the context of rolling out new software, change management involves planning, communicating, and implementing the changes in a way that minimizes disruption and maximizes adoption.
Follow the tips below to guide the way to a successful rollout of 15Five:
- Identify your "why": Before you begin communicating 15Five to your team, it's important that your Leadership Team can voice the reasons why your company is rolling out 15Five and the benefits it will bring. Read our "Determine your desired outcome with 15Five" article for steps on how to identify your "why," determine which outcome you want to focus on as you launch 15Five, and create a strategic action plan to achieve desired goals with 15Five.
- Create a coalition of 15Five champions: According to Change Management Expert Dr. John Kotter, one of the top reasons why transformation efforts fail is "not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition." With this in mind, consider creating a core implementation team of stakeholders to help configure, communicate, and train on 15Five. Once you begin rollout, identify the individuals who are leading the charge with usage and utilize them to spread excitement and adoption throughout the organization.
- Communicate early and often: Communicate 15Five effectively to all employees, including why 15Five is being implemented, what benefits it brings, how it will impact their day-to-day, and how it will be used. Provide clear instructions on how to access and use 15Five, as well as any expectations or guidelines surrounding its use. Learn more about how to effectively communicate 15Five to your organization.
- Provide training and resources: To set your employees up for success as they begin their journeys with 15Five, you need to ensure that you provide adequate training and resources. Create a training program that covers all the essential features and how to navigate the software.
- Collect and act on feedback: According to Quantum Workplace, one of the top drivers of employee engagement is for employees to feel that their opinions matter. Thus, it's important to create channels for employees to share their feedback about 15Five— and to encourage them to do so! This can help you identify any issues or areas where additional training may be needed, gauge the overall effectiveness of 15Five, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is meeting the needs of your employees and your business.
- Celebrate small wins: Finally, it is important to celebrate successes along the way. As employees become more proficient with 15Five, recognize their efforts and reward them for their hard work. This can help to build momentum and keep employees motivated to continue using the software to improve their performance and engagement. And, according to Gallup, individuals who receive recognition and praise are more productive and more engaged. It's a win-win!
Learn from the experts
The act of rolling out a change within an organization isn't new, and experts in change management have introduced various methods and tips to make this process easier and more successful.
Consider utilizing some of the below methods to drive the adoption of 15Five:
Rogers Law of Diffusion of Innovation
Consider the types of adopters in your organization so you can drive adoption.
Rogers Law of Diffusion of Innovation, made popular by Professor Everett Rogers, is a social science theory that explains how, often time, an innovation or a product (like 15Five) gains momentum and diffuses, or spreads, through a social system. The end result is that people adopt a new idea, behavior, or product. Within any social system, such as your organization, you'll find the following types of people: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
- Innovators don't need a lot of information to buy into a new idea: they're excited to try something new quickly because it's innovative. 2.5% of your organization will typically fall into this bucket.
- Early Adopters are excited to try something new once they understand the benefits. 13.5% of your organization will typically fall into this bucket.
- Early Majority & Late Majority are the largest groups, making up a collective 68% of your organization. Early Majority individuals are more likely to adopt new technology after hearing the experiences of Early Adopters. Late Majority individuals are more skeptical and prefer to wait until the value of the new technology is tested and proven before adopting.
- Laggards typically delay adopting a new technology until they absolutely have to. 16% of your organization will typically fall into this bucket.
Thanks to Innovators and Early Adopters, about 15% of your company is going to be sold into 15Five as soon as you announce it. But for your organization to realize the true value of 15Five, you have to cross what's known as "The Chasm" to reach critical mass. You need the Early Majority to be bought in to get everyone else to buy in and achieve stickiness with 15Five.
To drive adoption for Early Adopters and Early Majority and cross The Chasm, you should focus on targeting these groups in your communications and trainings, building demand for 15Five. To achieve this, you may choose to first launch 15Five to a set of volunteers before rolling it out to your entire organization. Let people try it out and give you feedback about what they like and where areas of opportunity lie. Then, adjust your strategy based on feedback and highlight successes that the Early Adopters have experienced with 15Five. This will help build a natural transition to the buy-in of individuals who fall in the Late Majority and Laggards categories.
Maurer's 3 Levels of Resistance to Change
Recognize the reasons people resist change so you can address them head-on.
Did you know that almost two-thirds of major changes implemented within organizations are unsuccessful? To combat this, it's important to understand the common reasons why people resist change so you can confront them head-on.
Author Rick Maurer identifies three reasons why people are resistant to change:
They don't get it. This type of resistance may occur when employees don't receive enough information about the change, they disagree with the data presented to them, or they're confused over what the change means for them.
To combat this resistance, it's important to make a strong case for why the change is needed and to communicate the "why" in a way that resonates with your people.
They don't like it. This type of resistance is more emotional. Maurer says, "It is based on fear: People are afraid that this change will cause them to lose face, status, control – maybe even their jobs." When people don't like a change, it makes it difficult to communicate with them about the logistics: they will oftentimes stop listening to communications because their fears are stronger than their interest in engaging.
To combat this resistance, leaders need to explain what's in it for their employees. Create excitement by explaining the benefits of the change and allowing employees to be active participants in the process (e.g. through collecting feedback, asking for recommendations, etc.).
They don't like you. This type of resistance occurs when people are hesitant to put their trust in the team/leaders who are pushing the change. This could be because they doubt that the change will really take effect (based on historical situations) or they don't have confidence that the change will be actualized.
To combat this resistance, it's important for leaders to address past situations in which they may have "dropped the ball" and take responsibility. It's also vital for the Implementation Team to stick to commitments, thus demonstrating that they can be trusted to create positive change. It's also valuable to seek and act on feedback from employees so they feel like they're part of the process and that their ideas and concerns are valid.
Kotter's Change Management Theory
Utilize common success factors for leading change.
In his book "Leading Change," Professor of Leadership and Change Expert Dr. John Kotter presents a change management process that contains the most common success factors for leading— not just managing— change.
These eight steps are:
- Create A Sense of Urgency: Motivate people to take action with enthusiasm and purpose toward an exciting future goal. Build excitement and unity around a clear vision. This can be done by determining your "why" and communicating it to employees prior to training and launch.
- Build A Guiding Coalition: Create a team of people committed to the success of 15Five to guide implementation and launch. This can be done by creating an internal 15Five implementation team.
- Form A Strategic Vision: Explain how the introduction of 15Five will lead to a better future and gain support for making that future a reality through specific plans linked to the vision.
- Enlist A Volunteer Army: Rally a group of 15Five champions around a common opportunity. Individuals should want to actively contribute to the success of 15Five and work together to achieve successful adoption.
- Enable Action By Removing Barriers: Get rid of anything that slows progress or creates obstacles. Make it easier for people to innovate, collaborate, and achieve results quickly. This can be done by creating and implementing a strong training strategy that makes it easy for employees to get the information they need to adopt 15Five and then creating a simple way for employees to get answers to their questions and share feedback.
- Generate Short-Term Wins: Recognize and share small victories regularly to track progress and keep your team motivated. Consider highlighting people who are adopting 15Five in their day-to-day work during company-wide meetings or in community-wide communication channels. It can also be helpful to offer awards to teams or individuals who are exceeding expectations.
- Sustain Acceleration: Keep pushing for change even after initial successes. Your growing credibility can improve systems and policies. Continue making changes until the vision becomes a reality. This should be done by collecting and acting on feedback from employees, especially during the early stages of launch.
- Institute Change: Highlight how the use of 15Five is leading to organizational success so that people are motivated to replace the "old way" with the "new way" of doing things. and ensure they become strong enough to replace old habits.
Additional 15Five resources for change management
- Blog: Grow the team, keep the culture (9 min read)
- Blog: Accountability – Communication = Disaster (6 min read)
- eBook: The Ultimate Glossary of Performance Management KPIs