Somebody finally said it: Lindsay Grenawalt, chief people officer at Cockroach Labs, a database management vendor, wrote the following for Fast Company on the subject of hybrid work:
"There is so much that we can't control about the future. And I can't stress this enough: Nobody knows what they're doing. We are in completely uncharted waters."
It's refreshing to see someone — especially an HR executive — concede so forthrightly that hybrid work will require a period of trial and error. And while this is an HR viewpoint, it's one that IT professionals should buy into and support because the challenges of such an uncertain time fall heavily on IT as well.
Grenawalt's overarching message is that experimentation is key to hybrid work success because it lets "employees feel in control of the experience." That message of user empowerment was also shared here on No Jitter, from the IT perspective, by consultant Melissa Swartz of Swartz Consulting, in previewing her Enterprise Connect 2022 session on user adoption.
That session wound up offering a treasure trove of great advice and insights about how to make a user adoption project succeed. Swartz presented alongside Vallorie Weires, senior solutions and customer success advisor at Enabling Technologies consultancy, describing an engagement the two handled for a state government with 10,000 users to roll out Microsoft Teams.
The key to the project's success was pairing the technical implementation with a powerful change management and adoption program. "They were in lockstep with us," Swartz said about Weires' change management team, which was on every call addressing the technology plan. "I've never seen a project where it was that much a part of the process."
Weires cited research showing organizations that don't invest in change management only see 35% of the benefit from a project compared with those that do. "You're spending money on these [technology tools] because you're trying to create an awesome experience for your users," she said. "The adoption [program] just translates what you're already trying to do into a way that your users can understand it and feel like they've been put first."
That doesn't necessarily mean users will always get what they want.