In this series of blogs, we are looking at how the international corporation Metalomat (*name changed) actively drives change. To help, user experience and communications expert, Luisa Bruschinsky, has been giving us a look behind the scenes of her and her team’s work. In part one, we discovered how important change management is. The user must be the focus of attention every step of the way. Before any communication is sent, it must first be considered for whom it is relevant and which content is necessary. In part two, we will take a look at how to give employees identification and orientation in the digital day.
Communicating upcoming relevant changes in good time to the right person is a critical part of change management. Another is to offer long-term orientation. Instructions and tips on how to use certain tools must be made available and accessible for every employee at any time online. For many businesses, this means on the intranet.
The international corporation, Metalomat, already has an excellent intranet with content available in the eleven languages spoken within the corporation, so that every employee can read in-house news in their own. Metalomat’s intranet is special in another way as it dedicates a large section to the Modern Workplace, which is home to lots of tips, instructions videos and examples of the numerous digital challenges facing its staff every day. Webinars and recordings of digital courses are permanently accessible and provide a good basis for self-help as employees can refer back to them whenever needed.
Based on this are the two columns—personas and usage scenarios—both of which serve to give employees identification and orientation so that they can quickly find a solution to their issues. Overarching learning events are set up in which usage scenarios are described in detail.
Successful change management integrates employees and gives them orientation in the case of questions and issues. Every employee must feel like the supporting materials and content connects with them, but not everyone is facing the same challenges or has the same needs. So how can all employees feel connected? Metalomat has found an answer, creating five personas that consolidate the different needs of each user group. It’s crucial that these personas do not include any job-specific requirements or exact job titles and they shouldn’t define jobs that employees can compare with their own. Instead, personas should be the wishes, challenges, needs and frustrations of daily work.
At Metalomat, those personas are Eric Employee, Anna Assistant and Michelle Manager, plus two more that cover the tasks frequently performed at Metalomat. Depending on the company, this could be in production, sales or technology. Generally speaking, an employee won’t be able to 100% identify with just one persona. For example, maybe they strongly identify with the wishes and needs of Eric Employee, but are currently managing a project and therefore recognises the challenges faced by Michelle Manager.
To create a persona, active dialogues with representatives from the groups of people (e.g. in workshops and interviews) are used in combination with anonymised statistical corporate data. In this way, the average gender, age and appearance of the employees can be determined to offer the highest possible levels of identification.
To give staff orientation with their everyday issues, Metalomat has also made usage scenarios available online in the library section of the Modern Workplace intranet page. These are sorted according to topic and in-house communications campaigns for which there are individual usage scenarios, and include topics such as “collaborating in a team” and “structuring my work”. As an international corporation, Metalomat has been able to invest a lot of resources into this library. For smaller businesses, it makes more sense to start with one subject area and then slowly expand the library. In each subject area, the different usage scenarios are allocated to the various personas who experience the issue presented in their everyday work.
Whatever happens, the user should remain the focus. Usage scenarios need to represent the employees’ real-life challenges and needs, and to do so calls for a lot of research. The user experience team analyses which issues are relevant in the real working world, no matter if they are small, such as creating an out of office message, or big, such as implementing new software.
A usage scenario always includes a story, challenge, wish and the related solution, which itself is made up of a meaningful combination of technologies and applications available to IT. In this way, issues are approached and dealt with holistically and the employee receives background information which can then be used to make it easier to identify the issue. If an employee has an issue with an app or a program, they can read about it in the usage scenario under the person they most strongly identify with.
By clicking on the solution, the employee is redirected to a short overview of support measures, where the solution is explained in detail with the help of pictograms and short texts. If this isn’t enough, they then have the possibility to read a more detailed explanation. Alternatively, there are short videos of the solutions. These are always described in as simple a way as possible and with as much detail to ensure no questions remain unanswered. This is the only way to avoid frustration among staff, which can quickly build when a solution is incomprehensible.
Metalomat puts a lot of effort into ensuring this amount of detail. As soon as new digital challenges have been identified, usage scenarios are created by the IT department, where a whole team is working to ensure no questions remain unanswered. This is where the best possible available solution to tackle a digital challenge is defined. The user experience team carries out additional quality controls and pilots brand new usage scenarios in a community of experts before making them available to all users. This is the only way to ensure the best possible IT experience and make the most of the opportunities on offer.
The usage scenarios are permanently accessible in the Modern Workplace library on the intranet. Additionally, Metalomat offers digital learning events such as webcast and all-day boot camps that also tackle these topics in the form of live demonstrations with IT experts, who are also available to answer users’ questions. New usage scenarios are also presented in these live demos, in which every employee can take part. As a rule, these units last 30-60 minutes and include the presentation of the new usage scenario, and the solution in both simple and more detailed steps. As well as this, there is always the possibility for the participants to actively communicate with the IT department and ask specific questions. Metalomat offers these learning events in all eleven company languages.
For a company just starting to introduce usage scenarios, Metalomat’s approach may be a little resource-intensive. In this case, personas that help the employees in terms of identification and orientation should first be created, before drawing up usage scenarios for frequently occurring challenges. As soon as some instructions have been collected, a boot camp event can be organised in which the employees will learn about the new scenarios in individual sessions. They can decide if they want to take part for the entire day or just for a few sessions. After the boot camp, the recorded units are uploaded to the intranet so that the can be accessed by employees at anytime from anywhere.
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