An international financial services company was upgrading all user desktop computers to the newest version of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. Over 12,000 users in 130 locations were to be impacted. Senior Management had serious concerns about productivity drops during and immediately after the transition.
The budget for training was limited. Senior Management requested that users not be pulled away from their work for excessive periods of time for training. Also, Senior Management wanted this transition to be very visible so that every user knew it was coming and what it meant to them.
A communication and awareness plan was developed immediately. The project was “branded” to begin developing communication media and build awareness. The “Connect 2010” brand was used on all training materials, communications, and media [Note: this is a pseudonym to shield the client.]. An analysis of the user population showed that over 70% of the users were located in a little over 20% of the locations. Those users would be “touched” as part of a roadshow that hosted Connect 2010 open-house awareness events. To reach the other locations, an awareness kit was created. The kit included flyers, brochures, and decorations that could be placed in lunch rooms and other high traffic areas.
Since the locations that were not part of the roadshow would not have the benefit of hands-on demonstrations, a proposal was submitted to Senior Management to shoot a short awareness video with presentations and demos that could be viewed by the users at each location. A video production company was contracted. A script was written that included Senior Management messages, demos, and other presentations. The video was shot in two days, edited, and packaged for inclusion in the awareness kits.
Simultaneously, the training plan was prepared. The schedule precluded the use of in-house trainers. There simply were not enough of them to perform training at all of the locations within the timeframe. A national training provider was contracted to provide 80 classroom trainers with experience training the new Windows and Office software. Those trainers were located near each office location so travel costs were minimized. The vendor also supplied quick reference cards for the classes. Training was focused on transitional elements and new features. A 75 minute session was scripted with trainers providing onsite floor support for users after their training.
The open-house events were scheduled for the month leading up to the initiation of training. The events were staffed with in-house trainers, representatives from the project team, representatives from the contract training vendor, and senior managers. Several walk-throughs and rehearsals of portions of the open-house demos and presentations were held. Other offices received their awareness kits and were briefed via a series of conference calls how to deploy and use them.
As part of the open-house events and for the rollout of training a number of giveaways and prizes were collected. Every vendor participating in the project donated giveaways and/or major prizes to be distributed during the awareness program and during training. Everyone who attended training was entered into a drawing for the grand prizes which were two laptop computers.
Train-the-trainer sessions were held for the contract trainers using WebEx and conference calls. All of the training giveaways and other support materials were packaged and shipped to arrive onsite prior to the scheduled training.
The Connect 2010 open house awareness events were held. Additional some of the internal training staff based in smaller offices conducted their own events. In all 42% of the users attended an awareness event before training commenced. Feedback from managers of offices receiving the awareness kit indicated that users were reviewing the materials and viewing the video.
Training was executed on schedule by the contract trainers. During the first wave of deployments trainers provided feedback after every training session and at the end of each day. Lists of frequently asked questions were distributed among the training team and supplied to the help desk. Minor adjustments were made to the training scripts. Onsite post training floor support also provided input to the training curriculum and help desk.
User feedback indicated that this transition was the very well managed and executed. Business managers reported no reductions in productivity. Help desk calls regarding the new platform were no higher than the old system within one month of the complete conversion.
Senior management was very pleased and suggested using the communication and awareness process for any major transition or conversion project.