Why have Teams Champions?

Remember the training budgets we used to have to roll out new technologies? These have eroded over time mainly for financial reasons, but also because software has become more intuitive with a user-first design. These days, many organisations seem content to push software and change straight out to users, then wonder why it often doesn’t stick.

But what happens when you need to roll out a piece of software that not only improves how you do something, but fundamentally changes the culture of your organisation? Like Microsoft Teams, for example.

One way to overcome your training budget limitations is by creating a community of likeminded employees across your organisation who are passionate about technology and proud to share their knowledge with colleagues.

These individuals are your Champions, and they’re worth their weight in gold. As well as spreading best practice habits through your business, these advocates can provide you with real-time feedback of how successfully the new technology is being deployed.

Here are three tips on how to make the most of a Microsoft Teams Champions programme.

1) You only need to invest in training for your Champions

Ever tried to hold an IT training session when everyone in the room has a completely different level of ability and understanding? It creates so many barriers to learning, and usually doesn’t build confidence or motivation.

Your Champions are volunteers, not ‘voluntolds’, so motivation certainly won’t be a problem with them. If you focus on just training them, you can work to a higher level, faster. Your experts will then go away, practice and apply what they’ve learnt and pass this information on to their colleagues. You won’t see the benefits overnight, but eventually you will notice a deeper and more meaningful cultural change that is very likely to stick.

2) Get valuable programme insights and user success stories

To achieve behaviour change with new technologies, users need to experience meaningful benefits straight away. These benefits will always carry more weight if they come from a colleague they actually know. So, make sure you communicate early good news stories as soon as you have them as this will give your employees a worthwhile reason to come through the resistance part of the change curve.

Where are you going to get these good news stories from? From your Champions of course. Better still, publicising these successes across the organisation provides your Champions with recognition, making it a true win-win.

On the other side of the spectrum, you also want to hear about any issues before they become widespread so you can nip any problems in the bud. Your Champions will try things out before everyone else and will provide you with quick feedback to help you put things right before anyone else even notices.

3) Create communities of support

One of the fastest ways of stifling change and creativity is with red tape. An agile and informal approach to Teams training is likely to work better than a more process-driven strategy. So, why not set up a community where Champions can help solve problems that occur for users and to pinpoint fresh opportunities with the minimum of fuss?

If you are a large organisation and already have good adoption on Yammer, then continue with that. It is a great place for continued debate. Allow users to post questions and encourage the Champions to respond. You might need more expert help with certain queries, but this initiative is sure to take some of the pressure off your overworked IT helpdesk.

If you don’t have Yammer, then just create two Teams: one for your Champions only and one for everyone in the organisation. You can communicate key updates, materials and provide high-level Q&A on the Champions Team. The Champions can then go on the all-staff Team to help with their questions. If you create a channel in this Team called Champions, users can include @champions to ask for help. You can also use these Teams to communicate all the great things people are doing with the platform.

Changing the culture

Running a Champions programme is a more effective way of introducing your workforce to Microsoft Teams than formal IT training for everyone. And a cheaper option too.

Having a collection of evangelists who are provided with the framework and support to push cultural change is key. Your Champions can create the groundswell that will make others ‘want’ to change their behaviours. This will not only speed up change, it also gives it a better chance of sticking. If you’re lucky, it could even lessen change fatigue the next time you’re ready to introduce something new.

Find out more about how Resonate can help you integrate Microsoft Teams into your business.

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