In the introduction to the Change Management Strategies Series I mention three major factors effecting change. These include an organized implementation plan,
communication, and management buy-in. This blog will focus on strategic communications. Learning Management System (LMS) roll outs that catch employees unaware can have a potentially devastating impact. The project team may believe that because implementing a new LMS is the best thing for the organization, that employees will automatically see the benefit as well. This is likely not the case, because employees may not have all the information. Specific information that might not be available to employees includes:
- Who the LMS will directly impact? Who is responsible for steering the implementation?
- What is an LMS? What exactly will this mean for internal customers?
- When will it be released? When will internal customers see a change?
- How will the LMS impact the organization? How will this change the way work is done?
- Why is this impact needed within the organization? Why now?
These bullet points make for the perfect first topic of a minimum three that should be released during an LMS implementation. We recommend three communication releases at minimum to cover the inception of the project, the midway point, and the blackout / go-live phase. Feel free to add in communication points to your project plan as you see fit - especially if you are planning on a longer implementation. One I like to add in is the Launch Day communication.
Potential topics for communications:
- Inception of the Project
- Use the "5 Ws" above.
- Let employees know they will be receiving a Midway Point communication as the project progresses.
- The Midway Point
- Discuss data migration. Make employees feel comfortable that they will maintain their training records (if you have decided to make training records available to employees).
- Reapply some of the earlier "5 W" bullet points.
- Include an endorsement from a key stakeholder. Try to use someone that has been active in the implementation and knows the power of the new solution.
- Talk about successes in the project.
- Let employees know they will be receiving a Go-Live communication (try to give an approximate time range).
- Blackout / Go-Live Phase
- Let employees know that during the blackout time frame they will not be able to access the system. Even if a blackout period is over the weekend, you may have weekend workers that would be interested in knowing their LMS is down for maintenance.
- Include an endorsement from a key management personnel. This endorsement should focus on the benefit to the internal customer with limited emphasis on the organization as a whole.
- Give the employee a specific time frame for the blackout and a specific date for the LMS Go-Live.
- Launch Day
- Provide information on how employees can now access the system.
- Thank employees for their patience throughout the process.
- Offer training on the new system (this would need to be developed during implementation).