How We Do: Turning Everyday Users into Change Champions

Most customers expect RPI Consultants to bring expert technical and functional best practices and recommendations, but designing and implementing the perfect solution is only part of the battle. The success of the project depends heavily on the people using the new software and they need more than just technical training to become proficient.

This is why we offer integrated Change Management on our large projects such as Infor CloudSuite upgrades and migrations. Change Management focuses on managing the people side of change by using proven tools, resources, and communication. But even our Change Managers can’t do it alone, we need the help and support of the users on the group that have access to critical institutional knowledge, experience with the customer’s culture, and access to peer communication networks outside the project.

To ensure Change Management is relevant and effective, our Change Managers recruit and lead a team of Change Champions – a group of internal resources that help facilitate communication between the project teams and everyday end-users. Using your own teams and resources is certainly cheaper than a full team of Change Management Consultants, but they are also offer the best path to success for overall user adoption.

What’s the idea behind a Change Champion program?

Change Champions are peers and leaders within the organization that are recruited, trained, and empowered to go back to their functional areas and peer networks to be advocates for the project and the changes that are about to occur. This is critical because technology projects aren’t always just about changing the screens on computers, it’s also about changing processes, communication, and requirements for how to get work done.

These changes especially can be overwhelming and frustrating – and often lead to change resistance and opposition. Change Champions are embedded in the business and have the closest connection with end users, meaning they can be the ambassador and advocate that helps their coworkers appropriately prepare for change. Empowering Change Champions by asking them to also participate in activities like branding, communication, training, and even software demonstrations further evangelizes them through true ownership and engagement.

What do our Change Champions do?

Change Champions are engaged for every step of our Change Management plan and contribute to our and supporting documents and deliverables. These include creative project branding, development of value propositions and messaging, and a Change Communication Plan. Project branding offers a visual banner for Change Champions to rally behind, while the value propositions and messaging endow them with the right language to set expectations and build support. We put our Change Champions front and center as the messengers for our communication plan, which creates credibility and legitimacy in a way that your consultants couldn’t.

What makes a good Change Champion?

The best Change Champions are those employees who believe in the work they do and are committed to helping the business improve. With that as a foundation, it’s easy for them to extend their support to the project and comprehend the reasons the business is investing its time and money. These value propositions are “Championed” by our Change Champions who deliver them to their teams and peers.

Change Champions are respected by their peers, have good relationships with their managers, and are comfortable working with the organization’s leadership teams. They are also aware of the company’s culture and are excited to work with the project team to translate business requirements. Many Change Champions will already be active project team members.

Client Dashboards

So how do we know if the Change Champions are effective in their role?  A central repository is used to track employee feedback, complaints, and questions and can be routed to the proper lead for action.  The feedback rates, complaints, training participation and effectiveness, satisfaction, among other change management performance indicators can be tracked regularly.

A client dashboard can show a rollup of activity and can include a communication schedule that automatically routes for necessary approvals. These tools are used by the RPI Change Manager and your Change Champions throughout the project to help orchestrate change management activities remotely.

The Evolution of Change Management

Change management has certainly evolved and more widely recognized as a critical component to project execution. While your organization may not quite be at full change management maturity (as most aren’t), seeing that you integrate in your upcoming project is a step in the right direction. The benefits of change management are abundant and proven by some of the largest companies in the world and using your own internal resources to build a team of Change Champions makes most business sense.

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