In many cases, people assume that change management is synonymous with a communication strategy. Although it should be part of your overall plan, changing organizational behavior goes far beyond communication. To get your organization to adopt telework and realize the intended business value, you will need to develop a detailed telework adoption strategy. As part of your strategy, you should consider the following elements:
- Sponsorship: In the beginning, don’t worry about who the sponsor will be. Instead, first understand the role of the sponsor. In other words, what do you expect the sponsor to do? Then assess who the sponsor(s) should be, the approach you may need to build the sponsorship needed, and the plan for sponsor engagement.
- Roles & Responsibilities: Document the roles and responsibilities of all the members of the team that will help implement telework.
- Business case & Metrics: Identify the compelling reason for why your organization needs to implement telework now. Be sure to detail what the final state should look like. Define the metrics you will use to measure success. Metrics may include quantitative and qualitative measures and lagging and leading indicators. For example, participation rates (leading) and productivity gained (lagging).
- Pilots and quick-wins. I’ve mentioned the importance of running a pilot in the past. Identify potential quick wins or pilots up front to help create momentum.
- Stakeholder Management: Identify and prioritize stakeholders, assess their level of support, identify barriers, and develop and mitigation plans. Create a plan for continued monitoring.
- Communication Plan: Now you are ready for the communication planning. Outline who (which groups or segments) you will need to communicate with and how to communicate most efficiently and effectively.
- Training: Identify skill or knowledge gaps that need to be addressed through training.
- Risk Assessment: Assess and identify the biggest areas of risk to your implementation and what solutions you need to develop to overcome these challenges.
The list above may not guarantee success, but you will at least have the odds in your favor. Always keep in mind that altering the direction or overcoming organizational inertia in tough. Therefore, your adoption plan is not something that is a one-time exercise. Someone should own the plan, keep it updated, and force the team to continually revisit it to make any course corrections.