Communicating systems implementations

Date posted: 9 September 2017  |  Posted in: Communication

Sarah Hilyer
Core team member Sarah Hilyer recently provided communications support to client MoneySupermarket Group for implementation of a new HR system, WorkDay.

Here she shares her top tips on communicating a systems implementation.

Successful system implementation communication – what we’ve learnt….

Having the right systems, platforms and technology in place to support business growth is a strategic priority for most organisations these days and often one of the biggest single areas of investment. As with all change programmes, effective communications can make really make the difference to help colleagues quickly and efficiently adapt to new ways of working.  Here are some tips we’ve put into practice:

Start with your impact assessment

Whilst Comms might not be involved from the get go of the project planning, our first job should be to understand the impact assessment – this is typically part of the Change plan. Haven’t got one? You can still create your own… What is changing? Who will be impacted? What is the usual response to significant business change? How significant will the changes be?

The impact assessment should shape the Comms & Engagement plan – defining your audience prioritisation and driving your content and channel selection.

Give people a chance to get involved with testing

Testing should be one of the most important components of the project and change plan. Suggest that you broaden the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) group right out and give everyone the opportunity to join in. Why not put out an open invitation and see what response you get from volunteers?  You can tailor this depending on the size of your employee base but in our experience this is a great way to get an early temperature check on the perception of the system.  It’s also a fantastic way to be inclusive and get people engaged early to feel part of the end solution.

Once you’ve got your testing done you should have a ready-made group of advocates from across the business who are ready to be Super Users once you launch.

Don’t communicate too early

Think carefully about timing – don’t start communicating too early, you want to make an impact when you need people to engage and start to respond to your calls to action. Start your awareness comms by integrating your messaging with the broader business messages and keep your campaign focused on 2 to 3 months before launch.

And remember – it’s not all about Day 1. Once the system is live, opening up feedback channels and support is really important – intranet info centres, drop in surgeries and dedicated e-mail addresses for help are just a few ideas here.

Engage your managers first

This is an obvious but important step – even if managers won’t do anything differently on the new system, make sure they understand the benefits to them and to their teams. Give them the tools to land the messages successful in their teams and help them identify the specific support available to them, for example – training, workshop, FAQs and dedicated intranet areas.

If possible give them an early view of the system.

Keep it simple!

Most systems these days have been designed to be intuitive for end users – be careful not to over complicate the messages. Take the technical, remove the jargon and make it quick, simple and easy for everyone across the business to understand.  Focus your all colleague comms on the calls to action – what they will have to do differently from day one and deliver it in a simple, professional and fun way.  A visually-led campaign can really help here, giving everyone a consistent message backed up with a cohesive visual identity.

If you’d like to have an initial conversation about how we could help you and your organisation communicate a systems implementation – we’d love to hear from you – get in touch!

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