Communicate 15Five to your team

Rolling out new software can be a significant undertaking for any organization, but effectively communicating the change to your employees before, during, and after launch can help set you up for success and drive adoption. In this article, we'll walk through communication best practices and considerations for a successful rollout of 15Five.

In this article, you will learn about the following best practices for communicating 15Five:

  1. Identify and communicate your "why"
  2. Send communications from the right people
  3. Communicate early and often
  4. Make managers your strategic partners

1️⃣ Identify and communicate your "why"

Before you invite people to 15Five, it's important that your team understands why your company is rolling out 15Five and the benefits it will bring. As business leadership author Simon Sink wrote in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." Determining your "why" before announcing 15Five enables you to rally your team around common goals and inspire them to get on the same page.

To determine your "why," ask the following questions:
  1. What was the catalyst that made you decide to purchase 15Five in the first place?
  2. What are the top challenges your company has today, and how will 15Five help combat them?
  3. What initiatives are most urgent top-of-mind for your organization right now, and how do you plan to use 15Five's features and offerings to help deliver on them?
  4. What does success with 15Five look like 3 months from now?

Once you've identified your "why," you can prepare to give a compelling and exciting announcement about 15Five.

2️⃣ Send communications from the right people

Although your HR or People Ops leader(s) may be the ones rolling out 15Five, they're likely not the best people to initially communicate 15Five to the organization. Research conducted by Prosci, a global leader in change management, shows that employees prefer to hear from two people in the organization during times of change: the person at the top of the organization and the person they report to.

  • People like to hear from the CEO/person at the top of the organization about the "why" behind the change and the impact the change will have on the business.
  • People like to hear from their direct manager/person they report to about how the change will impact employees' day-to-day and what value the adoption of 15Five will bring to them personally.

Once these initial topics are communicated, the project team responsible for rolling out 15Five can communicate about product training and logistics.

Why should leaders communicate 15Five first?

Tim Creasey, Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer, explains, "...Research clearly shows that impacted people first need awareness of why [a] change is happening and [a] desire to participate and engage in the change. Only then will they express interest in the future state...This means that communications from the project team about new processes, new systems, or the project schedule will fall on deaf ears until people have heard from preferred senders on the topics they care about most."

3️⃣ Communicate early and often

In his article, "Why We Need to Rethink Organizational Change Management," author Carsten Tams writes, "Win employees' hearts and [instill] them with a change-centric mindset by communicating vision and strategy relentlessly, using every available channel. There is no such thing as too much communication." For employees to be bought into 15Five, it's vital for your leaders and implementation team to embrace this philosophy and communicate early and often, promoting a smooth transition and enthusiastic adoption.

Here are some recommendations for the types of communications you should send out to your team before launching 15Five 🗣️:

3 weeks before launch: Live and written announcements from the CEO

A few weeks before you launch 15Five, the CEO should make an announcement to introduce 15Five to your organization. Many leaders choose to make this announcement initially during an all-hands meeting and secondarily via email.

We recommend including the following elements in this announcement:

  • Express excitement! (e.g. "I am excited to announce the launch of our new employee feedback and communication tool, 15Five! 15Five is a performance management tool dedicated to accelerating human-centered leadership in the world so that companies and their people can thrive.")
  • State a reason for the change (your why(e.g. "Our decision to invest in 15Five was made based on your feedback around a desire for career growth opportunities and manager effectiveness training, as well as struggles with communication amongst teams.")
  • Give a clear indication of what features you'll be utilizing and why (e.g. "For our initial launch, we'll begin utilizing 15Five's Check-ins feature. Weekly Check-ins provide you with the opportunity to share how you're feeling at work, set priorities, and share ongoing feedback with your manager. Once you submit your Check-in, your manager will interact with it and mark it as reviewed to foster continuous communication amongst teams.")
  • Explain how the use of 15Five will positively impact your organization's HR outcomes and business objectives (e.g. "15Five's features and offerings are proven to help improve manager effectiveness and employee performance, engagement, and retention. We believe that driving outcomes will create a healthy work culture and enable us to reach our goal of [company-wide objective]."
  • Mention that employees will receive follow-up communications from their manager and the implementation team regarding logistics (e.g. "Your manager will explain more about this transition in the next week. Our HR Team will also be sending out details about employee training sessions prior to launch. Any questions that pop up can be directed to [ADMIN], who will be leading the charge with 15Five, or our internal 15Five Slack channel.")

If you need examples to get the creative juices flowing for your announcement, check out our pre-launch communication examples for messaging that other companies have used.

2 weeks before launch: Announcement from direct manager

Following the CEO announcement, direct managers should communicate 15Five to their teams.

We recommend including the following elements in this announcement:

  • Express expectations around the use of 15Five and the associated benefits (e.g. "You'll be expected to fill out a Check-in each week to communicate how you're feeling at work, your progress on goals, what you plan to prioritize, and other important topics. Check-ins take 15 minutes or less to fill out and help me as your manager stay aware of how you're doing so I can support you and remove any challenges that may pop up. Once you submit your Check-in, I'll get a notification so I can review interact with it.")
  • Explain how this change will impact employees' day-to-day (e.g. "Instead of recording 1-on-1 topics in a document, we will record talking points and action items in 15Five's 1-on-1s tool.")
  • Highlight the value the adoption of 15Five will bring to them personally (e.g. "Through the use of 15Five, you will have the opportunity to share and receive feedback that will make our team more productive. We will also have more opportunities to explore your strengths and career growth opportunities.")
  • Address team concerns (e.g. "I know that this may seem like an extra thing we're adding to your plate, but the opposite is true. 15Five is going to help us streamline communication, collaborate more effectively, prioritize the right things, and drive your career growth forward. At the end of the day, 15Five will save us time and effort and improve performance and engagement within our team."
1 week before launch: Announcement from HR

Once employees receive communications from leadership, it's time for the HR/15Five Implementation Team to communicate logistics around training and rollout. For this message to be effective, it's vital that it comes after leaders have already communicated 15Five to your people so they've internalized the change and recognized the importance of adopting 15Five.

We recommend including the following elements in this announcement:

  • Provide training resources: To promote the effective adoption and use of 15Five, employees need to be trained on how to use it. In your email, provide dates for internal training sessions or resources created by 15Five's Product Training Team. Learn more about how to create an employee training strategy. (e.g. "We will be holding internal enablement sessions for managers on December 1st and for employees on December 5th. If you cannot attend one of these sessions, please register for one of 15Five's platform trainings.")
  • Provide details around the timeline for rollout: Mention the day employees will be invited to 15Five so they can be on the lookout for their invitations. (e.g. "You will receive an email invitation to activate your 15Five account on January 15th. Please keep an eye out for that invitation and join as soon as you can.")
  • Reemphasize expectations: During the manager announcement, they should have communicated how 15Five will impact the day-to-day for their teams. In your email, make sure you restate what the expectations are around 15Five usage. (e.g. "Once we launch 15Five, managers will be expected to hold weekly 1-on-1s with their direct reports using 15Five's 1-on-1 agenda. Additionally, all employees, leadership included, will submit weekly Check-ins in 15Five, which will then be reviewed by their respective managers. Your first Check-in will be due ​[first due date], and we expect everyone to complete their Check-ins by 5 pm each Friday.")
  • Ask for feedback and provide channels of communication. Make it known that you want feedback on training and how you can improve after you launch, and tell employees how to best contact you with questions or feedback. (e.g. "If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback on the training process or 15Five in general, please reach out to me directly or post in the #15Five Slack channel and a member of our People Ops Team will get back to you.")

4️⃣ Make managers your strategic partners

Change isn’t easy, especially for managers who already feel overwhelmed with their current responsibilities. However, it's important that leaders be bought into 15Five so they can act as champions and lead the charge in getting their teams excited about using 15Five. To achieve this, it's important to get curious about the specific challenges your managers face and their and their team's needs so you can help you break down walls and gain trust. Show managers how you plan to make their lives easier by implementing 15Five.

Caroline DeConto, Director of Talent and Culture at Nugget, suggests that, while motivation to implement a change starts with getting buy-in on the "why," enablement comes from involving managers in determining the "how."

“Often, HR teams make the mistake of devising solutions or implementation plans in a silo, only asking managers for their help after the approach has already been decided,” she said. “If managers feel they’re being asked to do something they aren’t confident they actually have the training or resources to do, it can lead to pushback, a lack of follow-through, or a perceived divide between managers and people teams.”

The solution? Include managers! If managers feel they have a say and some ownership in the implementation of 15Five, they'll be more motivated to put in the work themselves and advocate 15Five to their teams. When that happens, you’re working as a team to solve problems rather than HR handing down instructions from on high.

Ask managers these questions before launching 15Five:
  • What roadblocks or obstacles are you worried might come up for your team in this transition?
  • What resources or support do you need to be confident about implementing 15Five?
  • What do you anticipate would be the outcome or impact on your team if you were able to successfully implement and lead through this change?

Blog post 📝: Driving Change Successfully: How to Enlist Managers as Catalysts

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