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  • Grace Tester

A Guide to Change Management: The 4 "Ts" of Training and Enablement

Updated: May 16

Nobody likes change. Change is often met with resistance because it disrupts the familiar and introduces uncertainty. Whether it's a shift in processes, technologies, or organizational structures, the human tendency is to prefer stability and predictability. So as a team leader facing change, it is important for you to incorporate effective and proven change management strategies into your rollout. 


In the realm of change management and training programs, there are four pillars that form the foundation of a successful rollout. I refer to these pillars as the 4 "T’s" of training and enablement, and they provide a structured approach to understanding, planning, communicating, and implementing change within an organization. Let's discuss each of these pillars and explore how they can contribute to an effective training and enablement strategy. 


Tangible

The first and maybe the most important step is helping everyone understand why the change is necessary to the organization. This message needs to be included in all plans, communications, training and meetings, and it must incorporate the "tangible" or the “what’s in it for me” message. Your team should know why this change is coming, why it is necessary, and how it will improve their day-to-day activities. Bringing those affected by the change in early and understanding their pain points is crucial for gaining buy-in and cooperation.


Also, when rolling out a significant change in processes or technology, it is important to understand that people learn and comprehend change in different ways and may need different types of resources to embrace the change. For example, some may learn better through hands-on activities, while others may require written documentation. You should also take into consideration that some may be eager about the change, while others may be more reluctant and will need to see the clear benefits of the change. 


Tools 

It is important to offer training programs, workshops, and support resources to help employees transition smoothly. These “tools” or materials should answer the question “why change?” and engage the employees in different ways. When change initiatives fail, it is typically because of poor management of the change process, or because employee needs are not being met. To help with this process, training tools and materials should be developed with the following in mind:


Day-to-Day - Design your training around your team’s daily activities including the overall processes as well as the regular daily tasks. Fully document how these processes will change for them – as well as how this change will make them more effective and efficient. 


Modes - This goes back to how different people like to absorb information in different ways. Your training arsenal may include videos, written resources with graphics, and in-person or webinar training sessions. When I go through training programs, I like to take written notes, which may seem outdated, but it helps me connect with the material in a more tangible way. I highly recommend weekly team meetings after a big change, so your team can come together and ask questions or share frustrations. After the initial rollout, this timeframe may change to once every other week, or once a month. These meetings are also a great place to celebrate wins and make the process more fun.


Accessibility - Creating accessible programs is essential because they benefit everyone. This involves incorporating features like closed captions in video materials and providing alternative resources such as PDFs or Word documents. Additionally, centralizing all materials in an easily accessible location ensures that every team member can navigate and use the resource without barriers.


Transformation 

Positive transformation is a journey that includes continuously building on training efforts to reinforce learning and adoption. It is not one training where you dump all the material on them about the new processes and step away. You need to connect the dots and lead your team down the path as you train and execute on your plan. In each training session, your learning outcomes should only include between two and four items that you want your team to take away from that session as well as the immediate follow-up actions. 


We use the term “evolving training.” This is a learning plan that is understood from the beginning with a set number of learning paths and a timeframe in which this learning will take place. For example, maybe you have a new tool, and the evolving training includes 18 learning paths (or courses/trainings) and these will happen over the next six months with hands-on activities to complete between each session. Remember to always reference learning outcomes from previous sessions to build upon what they have already learned and leave “breadcrumbs” connecting them to the new content by how it relates to what they have already taken in. 


Talkback (Feedback)

Finally, it's important to gather feedback from your team, both in how they are learning and embracing the change, and also how things might need to be modified to make the change more effective. You’ve done a lot of hard work in pulling together the plans, resources and education for this initiative, but that does not mean that you’ve done everything exactly right. You may need to tweak or modify some items based on the needs of the team. There are three types of feedback you should be collecting: 


General Feedback - These are just the general questions and statements that come up as individuals go down their individual learning paths, which could be collected via slack, a google document or on a system dashboard. 


Issue Management- This type of feedback is when there is something that should be working, but it is not. You need to determine if this feedback is collected in the same way as the general feedback, or if there is another intake or submission form for these technical or process issues. Then, there needs to be an escalation process for addressing the issues.


Feedback via surveys - I strongly recommend using surveys to determine where you start and how the process goes throughout your change management journey. Send a survey out prior to the launch, a few months into the training and at the end. This will help you establish a baseline and see how successful your training was over time. This also helps you keep a finger on the pulse of how things are going and what is important to your team. 


Implementing the 4 "Ts" of training and enablement is not just about managing change; it's about leading your team through a journey of transformation. By focusing on the Tangible aspects of change, providing the right Tools for learning and adaptation, facilitating a culture of Transformation through continuous learning and reinforcement, and actively seeking Talkback (Feedback) from your team, you can navigate change management with confidence and success.


The author, Grace Tester, is a Senior Manager of Strategic Client Development at nCloud Integrators, an industry leader in customer success strategy with a track record of improving customer journeys at hundreds of organizations every year through executive-level strategic services and technical implementation expertise.


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