close up of a very precise watch
PHOTO: Agê Barros

Stagnant Office 365 user adoption initiatives too often become failed initiatives. As usage stays minimal, so does productivity, making it hard for executives and employees to experience the business benefits of using the platform sufficiently.

And if this digital lagging continues, when it comes time to deploy and adapt to updates, companies struggle to innovate. This can explain why some companies fail to keep up with the pressures of ongoing digital transformation.

Office 365 Adoption Stalling? Create a Sense of Urgency

We've all seen Office 365 adoption initiatives stall. There are many reasons for the stagnation: one is the lack of a sense of urgency about campaigns activities. Shopping specials during the holidays provide a great example of what urgency in action looks like. All of them say similar things: "Hurry! Buy now! The special offer ends tomorrow at 5pm." The precise deadline gives people a reason to take action now and not days after.

The same dynamics apply to Office 365 adoption initiatives — without a sense of urgency, it’s hard for people to take the need for change seriously. Even simple activities like moving documents to SharePoint, joining a Channel in Teams, or creating a user profile in Yammer should come with a precise deadline.

By building a sense of urgency into key, necessary steps:

  • You ensure more people stick to the schedule.
  • You get a greater number of people to participate.
  • You build a sense of enthusiasm across the workforce.

Change managers are tasked with convincing employees to want change. While there are multiple ways to do this, the three steps below do help.

Related Article: Still Sharing Documents via Outlook? How to Make the Switch to SharePoint

3 Simple Steps to Inspire Change

1. Highlight the negative consequences of late adoption

Among the greatest drivers of transformational activities is loss aversion. When employees realize they stand to lose something valuable if they don't take action, participation tends to increase.

Demonstrate the negative impacts of remaining in the current state. You can use case studies of struggling companies whose businesses were disrupted by innovation. Find stories to persuade employees of the necessity of their urgent participation to the digital adoption efforts. Highlight every data set that supports your arguments.

Another approach is to use negative reviews.

Customer complaints can provide a strong argument to take change seriously, appealing to employees' emotions. Naturally, some employees strive to do their best for the people they serve. Let them hear negative reviews from unhappy customers or vendors, then demonstrate how Office 365 will help solve the problem.

2. Set precise deadlines on key campaigns activities

We've seen many Office 365 user adoption initiatives deployed without a formal plan. Even those with formal plans usually lack precise enforceable deadlines. Activities are commonly scheduled to be done during “a certain month” or “a certain week.”

To ensure a greater number of employees take action on time, attach a precise deadline to every activity. A precise deadline has a day, hour and minute. To help employees place the schedule even higher on their priority lists, have top executives announce the deadlines.

Plus, rewards always help create a sense of urgency.

Related Article: Change Managers: The Key to SharePoint and Office 365 Adoption

3. Handsomely reward those who take action early

Never underestimate the power of instant gratification. Relying on the delayed gratification that comes with using Office 365 as the only reward isn't ideal. So make sure that those who take action on time experience some form of instant gratification. Awards can do that.

Gift cards, vouchers, event tickets, a chance to be taken to lunch by the boss, etc. are all effective awards.

Essentially, employees need to see the perks of participating (at required times) with digital transformation efforts.

Consider prizes that can go to recipients at different levels of punctual activities or prizes that can go to top 10, top 50 or top 100 early-action-takers. And, always make a show of declaring the winners.

People enjoy recognition. Rewarding a behavior produces more of it. Having an award program in place will pay back to your adoption efforts in dividends. When other people see the rewards early-action-takers receive, they will be encouraged to take action on time as well.

The Benefits of Encouraging Adoption

Any delay in your company's progress toward Office 365 adoption is definitely detrimental. In addition to other possible interventions you may implement, take steps to create a sense of urgency and bolster employee’s timely participation. The potential positive outcomes of creating a sense of urgency are worth the efforts.

When more people stick to the schedule, participate fully in the efforts and do so with enthusiasm, Office 365 adoption becomes so much more probable.