Off the record… - GWI

Off the record… 

Change management can be seen as a standalone activity in electronic document and records management systems (eDRMS) implementations, however it is equally important to consider the way you communicate and offer training and support to your user base.

As I wrote in my previous blog, this piece focuses on the importance of the end user. I’m going to delve into the two areas I identified but did not cover in my previous blog – communication, and training and support.

Communication

Communication should be at the centre of any eDRMS implementation, as it impacts the whole organisation. Disengaged or confused users can lead to a reluctance to adopt the new system and processes, irrespective of the approach you take.

Taking your users on the journey is key to user adoption. This involves communicating clearly and consistently. Choosing the right time to communicate is just as important as picking the system. Often this type of project lasts years and user interest can taper off quickly. Talking to your users too early can leave them uninterested in any future engagement efforts.

There are so many components to effective communication it’s hard to list them all. Some of the tactics I have found to be fundamental include:

  • Choosing the right time to communicate (when and how often)
  • Using different and appropriate communication channels
  • Keeping it up-to-date, clear and concise without project jargon
  • Making it relevant to the user
  • Using the opportunity to educate your users (but avoid too much detail)
  • Staying positive and focused on the benefits
  • Correcting rumours and answering FAQs
  • Providing project updates and increasing awareness

 

Training and Support

Knowledge decreases over time. Conduct your training too early and you run the risk of users forgetting what they have learnt and its’ practical application. Conduct it too late and users are already frustrated and unlikely to be enthusiastic about attending.

The latter is also applicable for support, as too often support arrangements are left until the last minute.  They have not been tested, nor are they set up to manage the potential issues that arise with a new system.

Well organised and thorough support and training will put you ahead of the game. Simple practices that can be applied to enhance user training and support include:

Training

  • Train in smaller groups
  • Keep it short and cover only the basics
  • Make it mandatory to attend basic training
  • Hold follow up ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions (optional attendance)
  • Incorporate it into the induction process
  • Hold advanced sessions for those who have added responsibilities
  • Tailor training to the user so it can be related back to day-to-day activities
  • Incorporate feedback and suggestions
  • Keep theory on records management to an absolute minimum, and focus on the tactical

Support

  • Develop a support plan
  • Socialise the support plan with the key stakeholder
  • Test the support processes thoroughly
  • Consider the ‘what if’ scenarios
  • Define technical as well as, information and user support
  • Document and clearly communicate roles and responsibilities
  • Provide key training to support staff, where required

No eDRMS implementation is ever easy. The key to success is balancing all the right elements.  The implementation approach should be equally influenced by technical, information and user requirements throughout this process. Don’t forget these things take time.