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How to Increase User Adoption of Office 365 Through Contextual Training

How to Increase User Adoption of Office 365 Through Contextual Training

Learning a new technology in itself can be difficult. Add on all of the daily work you and your employees have to do and the quarterly goals you have to hit, and it can be quite the headache to bring in new processes. Even though you know a new technology can speed up productivity, the unknown aspects of adopting it are reason enough to deter you from trying. It’s why you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them.

Organizations try to help by investing in training when adopting a new technology tool, but it’s usually a one size fits all approach. For example, they will hire a trainer, and teams will take courses over the span of several weeks to learn how to use Office 365 tools. But at the end of the training, employees are just scratching the surface of the new tools. With all the resources available, why are they not adopting the new technology?

First, tools like Office 365 are constantly evolving. Second, teams don’t invest in training that offers tailored training, support, and guidance that’s applicable to their departments and day-to-day responsibilities.

At Timlin Enterprises, we believe contextual training is the key to unlock the technology adoption door. Let’s unpack how our approach is encouraging users to embrace Office 365.

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

First and foremost, employees need to have a reason to learn something new. For example, I don’t just go to my garage and start woodworking. I learn by building something. This would be something simple at first like a birdhouse to learn the basics until I can advance my skills to build a table. Without a goal, most people don’t have the mental energy to apply the knowledge to something that they will retain. This is the main reason generic training fails. Without a specific problem to solve, the material is forgotten.

Awareness is the First Step to User Adoption

It’s crucial to create awareness of new technology within your organization before beginning a training program. If users don’t even know they can use Office 365 for more than email and document storage, they won’t even think about it, much less attempt to use it.

Start by building awareness and knowledge of the tool and its capabilities in a way that’s relevant to employee skill sets, organizational guidance (governance), and areas with small problems. We use past customer experiences to understand what different organizational roles are most likely to need. We talk to Human Resources about document publishing and maintenance, onboarding workflows, and templates for distributing organizational information.

Offering these small sessions targeted at specific types of users and capabilities starts to generate ideas, initial knowledge, and even excitement about Office 365. This is all part of the plan. As long as people know what is possible, and they have been given a conduit to get help, you’ve given them the key to unlock the door.

Knowledge is Power

With ongoing feature awareness in full swing, start working regularly with the teams and departments to talk about inefficiencies, issues in the process, struggles, and generally trying to uncover small elements of their work that could be simple training opportunities. It’s important to bring employees through the training at a comfortable pace. We’ve found that training and support are often intertwined, with more formal training coming out of needs analysis uncovered from common support trends.

For example, we work with end users to solve small problems, showing them exactly what we did, and how the features work. It’s an opportunity to train, teach, and provide a solution all in one instance—the very essence of contextual training. We also discuss those instances internally to uncover patterns that help us understand additional proactive training opportunities. If we see several people with similar issues, we can help solve for that across a larger audience.

The goal here is really to provide practical knowledge, not theoretical capabilities. New knowledge only sticks when the user has a vested interest in learning, such as when they need a solution to complete an important task.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Contextual training and user adoption are essential as you work to achieve digital transformation within your organization. It’s a building-block approach to learning. Users can’t absorb too much information all at once. Instead, implement a contextual training program that spans several months, so users can focus on specific training that relates to their specific job and processes.

Empowering users with knowledge of the tools to solve specific problems is what impacts real change. By continually adding to their day-to-day capabilities, employees will use Office 365 more often and will eventually consider it an essential part of how they work.

Compared to pre-built training, videos, books, or intense training classes, a contextual approach really adheres to the principles of digital transformation and true learning. By investing in contextual training, you’ll see user adoption and engagement of Office 365 soar within your organization.