A Changing Story

“This is going to be tough,” I mused as I left the briefing of what would become the largest EDRMS roll-out in Australia. The information I’d absorbed cascaded through my brain and coalesced into an untidy pool of disconnected thoughts.

This project, like many EDRMS projects, was compliance-driven. Using compliance as a “light on the hill” to energise change is usually spectacularly unsuccessful. Add in the usual conflicts between the needs of the business, the demands of IT and the passion of the recordkeepers and here was a project that did not have a clear path to successful implementation.

What was clear was that success was going to involve changing the habits of 4500 people.

The change management strategy we designed with the client really only encompassed two things:

  1. Getting engagement in the roll out process from top to bottom; and
  2. Establishing the precursors for individuals to change their behaviours.

Both of these items are typically missing from EDRMS rollouts that rely on compliance as the motivating factor for change.

In engaging the organisation, we needed to guide teams through a five-step progression:

  1. Understand the change
  2. Believe in the change
  3. Prioritise and care about the change
  4. Plan to make the change
  5. Implement the change.

EDRMS implementations that start with #5 without having done #1 to #4 to lay the groundwork first inevitably result in people nether understanding or caring about the change and consequently don’t change their behaviour.

In an EDRMS rollout, it’s also about supplying people with the information and tools they need to believe that embracing and using the EDRMS is good for them, that the habits of the new ways and means of recordkeeping are the norm, and the perception that they have the capability to learn and work with the EDRMS.

A systems thinking approach to every activity that impacted the end users and their team leaders all the way to their executives and back down again was taken. Every element of training, change and process reinforced the change management strategy and vice-versa.

Creating a powerful brand cut through the overwhelming level of communications received by employees every day.

Developing a nineteen-week engagement cycle with predetermined communication objectives and materials for each stage helped each division through the stages of engagement.

Using a four minute video featuring senior executives and users alike, explaining the need and tangible benefits at each briefing allowed for a consistent strong message to be sent to every management team.

Creating a devolved support model of super-users supported by self-help instruments and online learning meant that users knew that help was only metres away.

Designing training to be FUN and layering it from principles to processes to action helped people “get it” as a team and believe as an individual.

Creating feedback loops from measures of each stage of change and individual behavioural outcomes allowed the program team to adjust the strategy.

Twenty one months later, habits are being changed and the client has richly deserved to win the 2010 J Eddis Linton Award for excellence.