We commonly speak of the misstep in underestimating change on all users, yet rarely speak of that same misstep with pilot users. Regardless of whether the pilot is a true pilot - meaning a cross sampling of users across the organization - or an IT test group, the level of impact is no less significant for either scenario.
Consider this…you arrive at your favorite restaurant just to find that your favorite menu item is no longer served. It doesn’t matter if you were the first person or the last person to realize the menu item was gone, you’re likely still just as disappointed in that change as the first person that noticed it. You then begin to ask yourself, if I had known this, would I have still come to this restaurant today or chosen a different one? Why would they get rid of it? Is this still my favorite restaurant? Will it be just as good somewhere else? Is there something comparable on the menu? Will I even come back?
Similarly, pilot users are often exposed to technology changes with little to no notice or training. The benefits of an appropriately designed and deployed Organizational Change Management program are invaluable, in both the pilot and production stages of a roll out. Introducing pilot users to the pilot expectations, communications, the technology and training provide a holistic opportunity to assess how the organization - as a whole - will respond to the pending change. Additionally, it creates an opportunity to position the pilot group as an elite test group that will provide meaningful and insightful feedback on the OCM strategy and technology while also setting the pilot group up for success in using the technologies.
A properly deployed OCM strategy will allow pilot users an understanding of the purpose and benefits of the change through strategically design communications that shed light on ‘what’s in it for me?’ from the user perspective. The program should also offer training to support users throughout the transition with early training of commonly used functionality as well as more advanced training as users gain comfort with the technology.
The incorporation of surveys provides valuable feedback from pilot users and an opportunity to course-correct specific strategies as needed prior to the production roll out. All of this, lending to the successful deployment of the technology across the organization by being proactive in recognizing the impact of change, helps build an OCM strategy that supports users in the early pilot stage and in the production stage.
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