Okay, take a deep breath. If you haven’t already, you’re on your way to purchasing a knowledge sharing solution, and you’re likely choosing to do so for a variety of reasons. Looking into the future, you want to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Most often, organizations search for a solution that will share knowledge, make knowledge easier to find, reduce the amount of interruptions throughout your day due to repetitive questions, and more.
No matter what the size of your organization may be, you’re making a smart decision by investing in a knowledge sharing platform, and it’s going to pay off in the form of saved time, saved money, and increased productivity. But to successfully launch the platform, you’ll need thorough and extensive change management.
When it boils down to it, change management means changing your company culture so that people go to the new platform with their questions first. Your employees are likely used to going to you or other team leaders for their questions and problems, and like any habit, it’s going to take time and effort to break it. It’s up to you to lead your employees through this change and set example of how to utilize knowledge sharing software to its maximum capability.
With these change management best practices, your employees will be welcoming the change in no time:
1. Start at the top.
There’s no getting around it: humans are creatures of habit. In order to break habits, people require strong leaders who provide examples of how to behave during difficult times (sounds a little dramatic, we know).
While it’s not the zombie apocalypse or WWIII, implementing a knowledge sharing platform may initially present some challenges to your employees, and that’s why executive buy-in is crucial. What’s to motivate your employees to actually use the platform as a first-resort resource if you and your executive team aren’t doing so yourselves? Your employees need to see that you are excited about this big change. Here are a few ways to make that happen:
Your top executives need to post. A lot. It may be against your employees’ nature to post their questions in a forum for all to see. They may be hesitant to let others know they are encountering an issue. If they see your top executives posting and answering questions, they will quickly understand that a knowledge sharing platform should be an open space for users to learn and help each other.
Recognition and Rewards
Positive reinforcement is nearly always effective, so look for a knowledge sharing solution that tracks user engagement. How are they interacting with posts? How long are they spending in the content? Are they commenting, asking, and answering? Offer small (or big) prizes to your users who welcome the new platform with open arms
No doubt about it, if your top executives set goals for knowledge sharing within your organization and formally announce those goals, your employees will see that they are serious about the positive impact this new solution can have on your company, and they will be too. Have your executives call a meeting to announce what they want to accomplish through this change, how they expect that to be achieved, and what they need from their employees to see it through.
2. Communicate why this change is necessary.
As we’ve established, your employees are likely to resist change in the office, and for good reason. It’s disruptive to the routine which they feel works for them. Leaders of change in the workplace (and in the world in general) often assume that those involved understand why the change is necessary, and this is not always the case.
Be open and transparent with your employees about why you have decided to purchase a knowledge sharing solution. If you think sales is not performing to their maximum capability because they lack access to the material they need, tell them. If marketing is generating content that no one is using because other departments don’t know how to search for it, tell them. If customer service is slow and not as helpful as they should be because customers are coming to them with problems they’re ill-equipped to answer, tell them.
When you let your employees know that you are making a major change to make their lives easier, not harder, they will appreciate it. Don’t keep others in the dark.
3. Involve every layer.
Your top executives aren’t the only ones who are essential to the successful implementation of a knowledge sharing solution. Sure, they are crucial to generating excitement for the launch, but ultimately it’s the users who will drive your community. Identify leaders at every single layer of your organization, within every department, and tell them exactly why you believe they are equipped to lead the change process for their team. These leaders should be aligned with the company’s vision and driven to do what’s best for it.
4. Create marketing collateral for the launch.
You might typically think of marketing collateral as content intended to promote your company’s product to consumers, but marketing collateral can be used internally, too. Your marketing team will likely have a lot of influence on the popularity of the new system within your company, so have them generate content that will get users excited and also educate them on knowledge sharing best practices. Some examples of collateral are:
- White papers that provide instructions on how to use the software
- Case studies from other organizations who have successfully implemented similar software
- Sample posts and questions
- Video tutorials, quotes, and statistics
Marketing collateral doesn’t have to be digital or on paper. Get creative! Content can be anything from t-shirts and sunglasses to funny posters or toys to generate buzz for the launch. Hey, who’s to say a pizza with the name of your new software written in pepperoni isn’t valuable marketing content?
Managing change is a big responsibility, but you’re ready for it. Your team is looking to you for guidance on how to get the most out of a knowledge sharing solution. With a successful implementation and quality change management best practices from your top executives and department leaders, you will be saving time, money, and heartache in no time.