Managers’ Toolkit – Your Questions Answered!

When we chat to clients, prospects, industry contacts and participants, we’re often asked to explain the importance of Managers’ Toolkits to technology adoption programmes. That’s why we’ve pulled together answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive. We hope we give you enough insight to help you to create a well-loved – and used – Managers’ Toolkit to support your programme.     

What is a Managers’ Toolkit? 

Think of it as an encyclopaedia that supports a business workstream. Encyclopaedias provide a point of reference and facts in short-form with pictures and photos; and in digital ones, videos are also included. They (encyclopaedias) also come in sets/ volumes, so an organisation can have a set of Managers’ Toolkits to serve different workstreams and initiatives. In our field, a Managers’ Toolkit would provide a reference point for managers about an organisation’s technology adoption programme. 

Who is a Managers’ Toolkit for? 

As it says in the title, it’s for managers to support them in their role. It should give them a wealth of information, so they have the knowledge to factually update their team about progress on a technology adoption programme. 

Why do you need a Managers’ Toolkit? 

Firstly, having executives broadcast to every employee of a large organisation all updates on the progress of a technology adoption programme just isn’t realistic. Yes, you want executives to launch the programme and convey the vision and key messages. But, post-launch, one of the most effective ways to keep employees up-to-speed and ensure they have heard the news is via their line manager. So, a Managers’ Toolkit helps to support the management cascade model. 

What you don’t want to risk is a manager misinterpreting key programme information and miscommunicating it. Therefore, it’s important that managers receive accurate and consistent information and are singing the same song, at the same time. The Managers’ Toolkit gives the facts and messages, so all managers can refer to it and be aligned in what they say. The Toolkit is particularly useful for managers who aren’t involved in the programme or daily communications.  

When should you create a Managers’ Toolkit?  

A Managers’ Toolkit should be produced at the outset of the programme and be viewed as a living entity that you’re continuously building up that talks about the ‘what, why, when, how and who’. Managers should have access to the Toolkit prior to the organisation-wide launch of the programme and be given a brief about its purpose, how to use it and where to find it. This way they’ll have the time to build their knowledge and ask any questions.

Top tip: Remember to communicate any major updates about the Toolkit to them! 

And, when should managers be using the Toolkit? 

At all times and in their own time. Managers should value it as a ‘go-to’ reference point at any time to help refresh their memories on messaging and status reports. You need to make it that good they can’t live without it! That way, you’ll have their attention and you know they’ll keep going back for more…  

Where should you keep a Managers’ Toolkit? 

Somewhere so managers can easily find and access it.  

When visiting a library, we were taught that encyclopaedias sat together on the shelves of the reference area and stayed in the same place. We could only borrow them to look at in the library as they had to be put back, so everyone could find and use them. With a Managers’ Toolkit, make it available in a restricted area of an intranet, where all Managers’ Toolkits are kept. Don’t move it as managers need to know where it is; and, if the Toolkit is made up of more than one document, ensure all the documents are housed together.

Top tip: give managers one version of the truth! 

How do you create a Managers’ Toolkit?  

At the outset of a technology transformation programme, schedule some time in the programme team agenda to talk about it. By making it prominent from the start, executives will recognise the importance of it. Use this forum to:  

  • Agree the type of content you’d like to include in it (such as a vision video, key messages, status reports, policy updates and so on…). 
  • Set up a team who will produce and review the content. 
  • Develop a process along with timings as to when and how you’ll review the Toolkit and update it.  

How does a Managers’ Toolkit help with technology adoption? 

We find that organisations often develop a Managers’ Toolkit as an after-thought, when it should be front of mind. Change Management experts, Prosci, cited that prominent leadership is the biggest contributor to the success of a technology adoption programme (2016), so it’s critical that your leaders (your managers) understand their role and have the tools to know what to say and when to say it. Read our blog post Follow the Leader. 

Additionally, Prosci research has found that while people like to hear high-level messaging from their executives they seek permission to change from their line manager. Therefore, it’s crucial that any ‘actions’ are reiterated through line managers. This emphasises the pivotal role that line managers play in technology adoption and how their level of engagement affects the level of adoption achieved. In short, line managers must be on-board and on-message! Read about leveraging line managers.