“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” - Maya Angelou
Change is never easy and change in the workplace is no exception. It’s why there’s been articles, books, discussions all focused on “change management.” In a Forbes article John Kotter defined change management as referring to “a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control. The goal is often to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change.”
Migrating your company to Google Apps is a massive change for employees. In my discussions with Backupify customers, I often ask about their initial transition to the cloud with Google Apps. They typically don’t mention the technical issues that came with migrating but rather the employee reaction. Most bring up employee resistance to switching to Google Apps and mention “outlook addiction” or “outlook dependence” as major Google Apps hurdles.
If you’re thinking about making a switch to Google Apps, what can you do to make the migration as painless as possible for employees? It all comes down to implementing a change management plan. Turns out Google has an awesome guide called “Going Google: A practical guide to change management for Google Apps adoption.”
Here are a few helpful tidbits from the guide regarding change management and how to get started:
1. Create a Change Management Plan Timeline
To make your Google Apps migration successful you’ll need to start by creating a change management plan. Your plan needs to outline how your company will handle this change and offer a timeline on when everything needs to happen. When will you start marketing the change internally? When do you begin tests with a select amount of users? When do you officially go live?
2. Don’t Go it Alone
First things first - you need executive support and buy-in across the board before you even think about signing on the dotted line. After you’ve achieved executive support, you’ll want support from other departments including marketing and Human Resources. Partner with HR early because your HR team is tasked with understanding the people in your organization and they are the group that communicates with everyone.
3. Use Internal Marketing to Set Expectations
A big part of your change management plan will involve some type of subset marketing plan which is completely dedicated to helping promote a positive understanding of Google Apps and why you’re company is making a move. Basically depending on the size of your company, you need to launch an internal marketing campaign to get everyone on board! Tell all your users about the benefits of moving to Google Apps. You may also want to develop an elevator pitch that can quickly describe why your company is making a move (hint: tap a marketing and/or PR team member to help). After you’ve got your internal marketing messages down, use the necessary channels to get them out - email, posters in the office, an internal website, etc.
If you’ve recently made a successful switch to Google Apps what are some helpful tips you can offer other companies?