Today’s post is the 3rd in our series on Google Apps Change Management. You can read the first post here. And if you want a complete step by step guide to making your own transition to Google Apps a smooth one, please download our Google Apps Change Management eBook.
One of the biggest struggles organizations face when making the switch to Google Apps has nothing to do with technology. It’s about communicating the value of Google Apps to employees. Or, rather not communicating the value of Google Apps to employees.
Your employees are comfortable using the same technology day in and day out so when it comes to making a major change, communication is critical. Communicating that your company is officially moving to Google Apps needs to happen frequently and it needs to happen often. Building a thorough communications plan should all happen before anything is switched over.
Successfully navigating Google Apps change management at your organization starts with effective communication. Once your organization has decided to Go Google, it’s time for the C-level to step in and kick off communications.
According to Fintan Murphy, CEO of Damson Cloud, “The first email communication should always come from someone as high up in the organization as possible – the CIO or CEO is preferable. That immediately eliminates it being labeled an ‘IT Project.’ If the CEO communicates that you are moving to Google Apps, that’s a statement. That tells everyone this is serious.”
Every company has a different communication style and this should be a factor as your team develops the Google Apps communication plan.
Andrew Martin, Director of Sales at Netpremacy describes how his team goes about evaluating what will work best for an organization in terms of communication style, “What we will always do is identify the current internal communication methods the organization is using, and analyze how well these work for them. Based on this, we may then recommend other channels for them to use, which we think would have a higher engagement rate with users. What is important is that we identify the value in keeping everyone in the organization informed, as we believe this leads to a more successful implementation when the users feel involved and part of the process.”
When it’s time to sit down and create the actual plan, remember to develop key messages and create collateral materials for your rollout. Creating an “elevator” speech about why the organization is moving to Google Apps is quite helpful as employees across all departments will be asking questions.
Keep the communications as positive as possible. A positive message will help get the implementation off on the right foot.
Now, when it comes to the actual communication plan, Google recommends a plan consisting of a series of emails that provides information and aims to build support over time.
A sample communication plan is below:
- Announcement email – Lets everyone know about the company’s plan to switch email and calendar platform
- Intranet announcement – Broadcasts the company’s plan to convert to Google Apps
- Email to recruit super users – This is a call to managers and supervisors to nominate people they think will be able to work with peers during the transition. Known as Google Guides, these individuals are crucial to the success of the change effort
- Training email – Announces the schedule for live, online training
- Google Posters – Customized posters with information about the transition
- First switch notification – Lets users know their accounts will be migrated to Google Apps
- Switch reminder – General reminders about the account migration
- Switch reminder with preparation – Tells folks what steps they need to take
- Final switch reminder – Final reminder about migration with instructions to print out documentation
- Welcome message – Sent to migrated users includes information about what to do first and where to get help
- Tips and tricks messages – Weekly email highlighting a new tip or trick related to Google Apps
- New user welcome message – Welcomes new employees to their Google Apps accounts.
Need more Google Apps change management tips? Grab the eBook below and learn best practices for increasing adoption at your company.