For many higher education institutions, a cloud implementation is the largest initiative undertaken in 20 years or longer. However, a successful transformation project is more than modernizing technology. Success is measured on the level of adoption and use of the new system and takes careful planning. Bringing human resources, financial, and student systems together impacts the entire institution, and as with any widespread change, developing a robust communication strategy is vital to project success.
Define the project direction
At the beginning, it is important to articulate the project goals and the plan to achieve them. When introducing Workday into your institution, how you manage change is critical. Institutions with successful projects talk about the visibility of leadership, executive sponsorship, and effective change management. Stakeholders need to understand the shared vision and how the project will affect them, and as a result, they are more likely to be invested in the project. Establishing governance in the early stages of deployment will promote ownership and transparency for everyone involved.
Engage change leaders
Change leaders are key stakeholders across the institution who will help advocate for the change internally and remove some of the cultural roadblocks. They will motivate the organization to change, create and build excitement, and lead others to have buy-in for the project by understanding what the change means for them.
Maintain open communication
With a variety of stakeholders at institutions, from students to faculty and staff, and even alumni students, it’s important to consider how best to reach these audiences. Consider the end goal of user adoption, and how different stakeholder groups may respond. Learning and communication preferences may determine how your institution shares project updates, or how training is developed at various checkpoints.
Listen to stakeholders
An important element to any digital transformation is checking in with stakeholders and listening to their feedback. Setting a schedule for regular feedback intervals can help your institution gauge stakeholder interest and create a culture of transparency. Making sure that all stakeholders are aware of when and how the changes will affect them helps people understand how important the change is for the institution. As end users understand their impact on the project, they will adopt the transformation more easily.
Expand Communication Outreach
Expanding communication and outreach to the broader employee community can be accomplished by establishing a change network. Change networks are comprised of stakeholders from across the institution, meeting regularly to learn about the change initiative to then communicate, engage, and gather feedback from the broader campus community. Leveraging a change network significantly increases awareness and adoption of change across the institution.
Digital transformation projects are complex. For organizations deploying Workday, taking the time to develop detailed communications contributes to faster adoption and better utilization, benefiting your institution in the long run. Working with a partner experienced in change management can help your institution focus on the change, and help your end-users be more effective with their new system.