You’ve been working with a team of stakeholders to select and implement a new knowledge management platform for your department or organization. You’re excited for the official launch—but are your end users?
Your end users need to be bought into your new knowledge management platform because their engagement will make or break its success. You may have done everything right in terms of setting up the platform and filling it with valuable content, but if your end users aren’t engaging with the platform, it won’t matter.
It’s essential to have a plan to build excitement and engagement before, during, and after your knowledge management platform launch, rather than just assuming your end users will immediately be on board. 62% of employees report that they don’t like leaving their comfort zone, and you’re asking them to change their behavior and integrate a new technology into their day-to-day work. It’s up to you and your launch team to show end users how this change will benefit them and get them invested well before the official launch.
Below are six strategies you can use to get end users bought into your new knowledge management platform so that when you launch, they’re ready to dive in and start contributing their expertise, saving time, and leveraging your company’s collective intelligence.
Put a Communications Plan in Place
You and your launch team need to put your internal communications hats on and plan how you’re going to market your platform to your end users. If possible, work with your communications team to document your plan, and map out all communications touchpoints across relevant stakeholders, from the leadership team to your end users.
As you develop your messaging, focus on clarity and consistency. You should have one project pitch that you use across all messaging so that users understand why you’re rolling out this new solution. It’s also important to detail how the new platform will fit into your users’ workflow and existing tech stack.
Once you are confident in your timeline and the logistics of your knowledge management platform launch, kick off your internal communications so that end users know the initiative is underway and aren’t surprised when the new platform goes live. Introducing end users to the initiative early on will help them feel invested and will hopefully start getting them excited to dive into the platform when it launches.
Run a Naming Contest for Your Platform
Naming contests are one of the most popular pre-launch activities we see with our customers. A naming contest gives end users an opportunity to be involved in the creation of the knowledge management platform brand, which creates a sense of ownership. It also works well as a first communication touchpoint: you can share the project pitch and goals of the initiative and then announce the naming contest to build excitement.
Make sure end users know how long the naming contest will be running, where they can submit their name suggestions, and how they can vote on the finalists. Your launch team should also come up with a prize for the winner that fits with your company culture. For example, if you’re in a more casual workplace, you might give out T-shirts, water bottles, or other swag branded with your new knowledge management platform name. In a more buttoned-up workplace, you might give the winner a gift card or make a donation to their charity of choice.
Send a Pre-Launch Survey
While a survey might not sound that exciting, hear us out. Sending end users a pre-launch survey about their current experience searching for and using knowledge demonstrates that their voices are valued and their feedback will help shape the platform. It makes them active participants in the process.
The pain points they share in the survey can also provide valuable insights into how you should communicate about the new platform to have the biggest impact. For example, if the majority of respondents say that one of their biggest frustrations is having to check multiple repositories to find the information they need, your messaging could highlight the fact that the new platform will bring all that information into one searchable location.
An added benefit of a pre-launch survey is that it provides a “before” snapshot and sets you up to get an “after” snapshot with a post-launch survey. Showing users the improvements in the “after” snapshot will make the tangible benefits of the knowledge management platform clear and help keep them engaged.
Get Your Beta Testers On Board
Start gaining end user advocates for your knowledge management platform by doing a good old-fashioned beta test before launch. A beta test allows you to bring a select group of users into the platform before the official launch so they can test out the functionality and provide feedback. In addition to being a valuable tool for optimizing the platform, a beta test can serve as a sneak peek of the platform for the beta testers and get them talking about it with their teams ahead of the launch.
When building your beta test group, choose a representative sample of platform users. For example, if you’re planning to launch the platform to your Customer Success, Customer Support, and Technical Support teams, you should include beta testers from each of these groups so they can speak to the specific needs and workflows of their teams.
You also need to make the beta testing process as easy as possible for your beta testers. They have a lot of other responsibilities on their plates, and you need to be respectful of their time. Consider scheduling a kickoff meeting where you provide some quick training, walk through the specific things you want them to test, and go through an activity in the platform together, rather than requiring beta testers to find time on their own to learn the platform. You could schedule a feedback session a few days later, or, if you know your beta testing group is more reserved, simply send a survey over email. Meeting your beta testers where they are will help ensure they have a positive experience and will want to champion the new platform.
Host a Launch Event
When it’s finally time to launch your knowledge management platform, make a big deal out of it. Your end users should already know about the knowledge management platform at this point thanks to your communications plan, but hosting a launch event is your chance to drive people to the platform and get them excited about using and contributing to it.
As with the prizes for the naming contest, your launch event should be tailored to your company culture. Below are some launch event ideas that we’ve seen our customers have success with:
- Virtual scavenger hunt. Give users a list of things to find in the knowledge management platform and offer a prize for the first few people who find everything on the list. This helps users get familiar with the platform while taking part in a friendly competition.
- Video message from an executive sponsor. Have the executive sponsor for your initiative record a short video about why they’re excited to start using the knowledge management platform. You don’t need a video with high production value: it just needs to be genuine.
- Training sessions. Build training sessions into your launch event so end users can start feeling confident in the platform right away.
- Branded swag. If you’ve chosen a name for your knowledge management community, consider ordering some branded swag to give out at your launch event. If you and your end users are all working from the same office, you can give the swag out the day of the event. If some people are working remotely or in another office, consider mailing the swag out several weeks in advance to make sure it arrives in time for the launch.
Create a Reward System
While it’s beneficial to build excitement before and during your knowledge management platform launch, it’s critical to keep people engaged in the platform long-term so that it continues to provide value. While many people may be intrinsically motivated to use the platform simply because they see how it helps them work more efficiently and successfully, it’s worth considering what external rewards you can offer for high platform engagement.
Rewards can take many different forms and will, once again, come down to what fits best with your company culture. For example, if your teams respond well to gamification, you might use your platform’s engagement analytics to determine who has contributed the most content, read the most articles, or answered the most questions each quarter, then offer those top performers a shout out or prize. If career growth is a priority for your team members, you might offer professional development opportunities within the platform (for example, you could invite team members to join a team of moderators who are responsible for reviewing new content before it is published).
Ultimately, building a culture of knowledge engagement is an ongoing process. As you prepare to launch your new knowledge management platform, make sure you’re planning to both build initial excitement and keep end users engaged in the long run.