For any organization-wide change, focusing on the shift itself—the new technology, the updated processes, or whatever it might be—is all too easy (and common). But here’s another truth about every such change: It depends on the people who will use it. Taken together, those two truths mean a lot of frustration when the critical link between them is overlooked.
Whenever humans are expected to adapt to technology just because it’s there, outcomes leave a lot to be desired. Because who among us greets change with an enthusiastic “bring it!”? A very slim minority, at best. And even those stalwart souls can’t be expected to automatically understand and adapt to change.
Moving from status quo to full integration gets a lot easier with tried-and-true organizational change management practices, tailored to the situation and especially the people within it. For Denver Public Schools, organizational change management practices helped smooth a districtwide, in-progress transition that had run into resistance.
First step: A readiness assessment
Serving more than 90,000 students in the metropolitan area with 207 early childhood education through high school facilities, Denver Public Schools (DPS) was ready to shift to Google Workspace. After experiencing some user adoption hiccups and about a year into the transformation, DPS brought in Resultant to help manage the change through the following objectives:
Our approach started with a readiness assessment that identified where employees stood to define our way forward. We tailored ProSci methodologies with our own change management methodologies to build a plan that addressed what we’d learned. An essential part of that plan was to draw on the skills of tech-savvy users within the district to help the transition forward.
Ensuring thorough, timely communication
A big part of facilitating change is communicating throughout that change. We worked with DPS to build a detailed communication plan that created feedback loops, offered risk and resistance mitigation strategies, and included reinforcement plans. The organization had a strong weekly newsletter in place, and we leaned on that for updates. But transition messaging was limited to 200 characters—enough for bare-minimum updates.
We worked with DPS to build an internal website to support the transformation. That way, the newsletter could link out to the full communications employees would need. The internal site also gave us room to get creative: Our team provided videos, training modules, and a chat function so that users got thorough, timely information, and we could adjust the offerings according to the questions and feedback that came through the chat.
Taking the final strides toward implementation
Working to ensure thousands of employees successfully integrated Gmail and Calendar meant meeting each user where they were. Rollout started with especially tech-savvy users first so that those users would be able to support their peers.
DPS contracted with our team for three days of heavy go-live support when Gmail and Calendar tools were implemented for the rest of the organization. Because we’d worked hard to provide comprehensive training materials and support along the way, questions turned out to be minimal. DPS had achieved a smooth transition.
Read more about Denver Public School’s move to Google Workspace in our full client story.