Follow These 4 Steps for a Holistic Change Management Training Plan

Welcome to the third installment in our multi-part series on how to ace change management for your migration to Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office 365. Catch up by reading last week’s blog post on building awareness. Today, we’ll take a closer look at training.   

Employees have heard about SharePoint thanks to your executive sponsors, and they’ve seen the platform in action thanks to your champions. Now, it’s time to build on the excitement and anticipation by offering a multitude of training options enabling employees to be productive using SharePoint right away.  

Remember most workers hate change of any sort. There’s a tremendous level of stress and fear involved with any type of change in the workplace. Training is one of the most important arrows in your change management quiver to mitigate employees’ fear and stress.  

Create a holistic training plan accommodating the different learning styles, geographic challenges, resource constraints, and roll-out strategy you have. Take into account what functions in SharePoint you’re implementing, the important tasks you want employees to learn, behaviors you want them to practice, and also how much money you have to do all of this.  

There are four steps to craft a training plan that works: 

  1. Know your audience: This seems obvious, but considering training is the top reason why SharePoint implementations fail, start with the basic who (your audience), what (employees’ specific tasks), where (employees will use SharePoint), when (timeline for training), how (SharePoint will prompt change in how your employees work), and why (reason change is happening and why employees should care) of training. 
  2. Sketch out a training schedule: Every company is different, but there are consistent guiding principles for creating a training schedule. Account for the time necessary to create multiple phases and understand that it will take several months to implement. Expect to go through the following training phases: planning, pilot, awareness, training, follow-up and support. 
  3. Deliver training: Training comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to remember to strike the right balance between showing the “how to” and supporting the training long after it’s completed. Depending on the amount of time, facilities, equipment, geography, and money you have, you could consider using some of the following methods: classroom-style, small group presentations, virtual/online, and on-the-job training. We’ve found the most successful training incorporates all of these different methods, with a clear method for employees to request help or further information after the training is completed.   
  4. Open feedback channels: Just as you did when you started communicating awareness around your SharePoint implementation, make sure you keep the lines of communication open after you’ve completed your training so users continue to feel supported. Consider having an internal online group – you can use Yammer, Office 365 groups, or integrate SharePoint community features – that gives you an outlet to share best practices, establish topics of interest, participate in discussions, and build community among users.  

Come back next week as we will examine how to make sure you’re ready to drive adoption in the home stretch of your change management project. Can’t wait until then? Download our free eBook today to short circuit the pain of change management.  


Written by Co-Founder, Evangelist and Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Newman

Once a month we share expert opinions on end user adoption, Office 365 and SharePoint that we like from our community.  Receive our next issue by signing up here.

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