We partnered with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver the change and engagement workstream for its Cirrus programme. Designed to transform the IT workplace experience, the Cirrus programme deployed new laptops, Smartphones, Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Jabber and WebEx to 6,000 employees on a radical internet-only architecture.
Our engagement team – made up of nearly 50 change, business relationship, communications and training consultants – worked with key stakeholders across the department. Together, we devised the technology adoption strategy, and identified organisational goals, new ways of working and potential benefits. During the process we also helped stakeholders to understand how disruptive this change would be and that it was much more than a technical refresh.
Mitchell Leimon, Programme Director at BEIS for the Cirrus programme explains: “As natural extroverts, The Inform Team took the time to learn our organisation’s language and culture and build strong relationships with all sorts of stakeholders to bridge the gap between our IT team and the business. They astutely assessed what needed to be done to connect the technology to our people. I backed their way of thinking because I could see they had the skills, drive and credentials.”
The Cirrus programme change and engagement workstream was underpinned by our Excite, Equip, Embed™ approach to technology adoption.
To excite employees, we developed a programme brand and worked with the department to roll out an OASIS communications plan, to prepare employees for a positive experience. All materials that we produced, from training content, user guides and videos to news bulletins, case studies and visual displays were housed on an easy-to-find intranet hub that we helped to develop.
“When the scale of change involved became clear – and we realised how little buy-in there was – The Inform Team’s communication experts stepped up strongly and creatively. They got the programme back on track and made the key relationships with the corporate centre work well,” commented Leimon.
To equip employees with the skills to embrace the technology and new ways of working, we mobilised, onboarded and trained a community of 500 Knowledge Information Managers and digital champions to help with end-user adoption. We also ran three-phase ‘look, select, collect…’ device events for employees – in dedicated Cirrus spaces we designed and built – where over 12,000 face-to-face ‘select and collect’ device appointments were managed.
Classroom training sessions were held for all users on the day they received their device, with 12 employees attending per session and 140 users being trained each day. End-users were then supported by technical and Office 365 floor-walkers for 10 days, who also provided 15-minute clubs on ‘how to…’ tips. After 10 days, employees could then sign up to elective classroom sessions. Leimon noted,
“From the start, The Inform Team pushed for a radical and intense training model compared to what we and other departments were used to. They made the case and the benefit to the Department has been dramatic compared to any other similar programme I have seen.”
BEIS has a diverse workforce with a wide range of skills, ages and challenges. We ensured each of these communities was successfully nurtured. In particular, we provided a specialised change work-stream for the ‘adaptive technology’ community, so their individual technology needs were supported and BEIS acted as a truly inclusive organisation.
“With the Adaptive Technology community, The Inform Team deployed real subject knowledge experts whose experience and empathy ensured inclusivity was wired into the programme from the start. The BEIS Adaptive Technology community has repeatedly said that no programme has ever engaged with them as well as Cirrus,” said Leimon.
Post deployment, our partnership was extended to embed cultural change across the department. This included working with HR & IT to develop the on-boarding process for new starters; producing e-learning courses and videos; packaging learning content by profession; and, upskilling the change agent community through technical immersion courses.
Our communications team helped to identify and develop the messaging for five key ways of working, so employees could better understand how the new technology aids their work. The team also supported the promotion of key benefits to employees, which are saving time, improving efficiency, increasing security and delivering inclusivity.
The Cirrus programme is delivering massive savings for the department and has provided civil servants with an IT infrastructure, kit and experience second to none. It has put the department at an advantage in the war for talent and employees have received the change positively. How we communicated the Cirrus programme resulted in 86% of users knowing what to expect, when the change was happening and what they needed to do.
It has also provided the platform for continuing business transformation over the coming years and in how the department works. Leimon comments:
“By having an outward facing set of IT tools, it’s enabled us to engage and communicate with British and global businesses to share information and knowledge. The Cirrus programme has been a massive leap forward in how we collaborate and work as a modern department.”
Benefits of a change and engagement partner
We became a vital delivery partner for BEIS and were able to innovate at pace whenever the programme needed new thinking or skills:
“This was a challenging project where you needed to know you had a change team who were creative ‘outside the box’ thinkers, confident enough to question the way things were done, and come back with a plan of attack of how to do things differently. The Inform Team did this. As a partner they shared our commitment, were able to respond to the unforeseen, and above all, always did the right thing for the project. They were a partner we could learn and laugh with,” said Leimon.