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Common mistakes to avoid with a digital champions programme

By 20th September 2023March 15th, 2024No Comments
An animated laptop with a green tick and a red cross denoting dos and dont's

Are you looking to embark on the exciting journey of launching a digital champions programme within your organisation?  

Well, hold on to your keyboards because we’ve gathered a few of our change and technology adoption specialists in one virtual room to ask them: ‘What are the common mistakes to avoid when rolling out a digital champions programme?’ 

Here’s what they shared… 

Mistake #1: Telling instead of encouraging 

A champions programme should be open to everyone in the organisation to put themselves forward, regardless of seniority. Encourage your people to join rather than telling them they need to join.  

The most important factor when choosing your champions is the unique qualities they bring. If they’ve already got Microsoft 365 or digital skills, great, but if they haven’t, these can always be taught. 

A hand holding a piece of paper with the words 'you got this'

Mistake #2: Providing impersonalised Microsoft 365 training  

A sleep mask with eyelashes and a post-it note above with the letters 'zzz'

Your champions are your advocates, your tech ambassadors, your problem-solvers, open to change, and respected amongst peers. If you don’t equip them with the proper training they need, they can’t thrive in their important role as a champion.  

Training should be structured and delivered by expert trainers to boost digital skills and know-how, but in a way that suits them. We all learn in different ways, so it’s important that all learning styles are covered. 

And if the training isn’t fun and engaging with challenges and quizzes thrown in for good measure, then expect your participants to switch off! Zzz… 

Mistake #3: Delivering inconsistent and incoherent comms 

From introducing the concept of your digital champions programme to the post-launch comms and everything in between, messages need to be clear, logical, and structured to make your communications campaign a success.  

You need a solid framework that gives your people the information they need when it comes to business strategy, the project leading the change, and where they sit as digital champions within the bigger picture.  

It’s common for organisations to launch and go quiet. Messaging should be drip-fed at regular intervals throughout the life of your champions campaign. We call this drumbeat comms. 

Whether it’s user guides, training materials, or top tips in video format, keep content varied and engaging. If it’s outdated, get rid of it. Engaged champions are effective champions. 

A drum with two drumsticks

Mistake #4: Forgetting the human element  

Digital transformation isn’t just about machines, it’s about people. How can this new tool within Microsoft 365 make a coworker’s day a little brighter? This perspective can make all the difference for champions to guide their peers.  

You also want to avoid people thinking this is another task to do in an already busy working day. As a champion they can build belief in themselves, develop new skills, and make a real impact within your organisation. Clarify their purpose. 

Mistake #5: Overlooking diversity  

Technology knows no gender, age, or background boundaries. When planning your champions recruitment campaign, make sure your digital champions represent different departments, skill levels, and demographics. You’re not only promoting inclusivity but making sure there’s a wide range of beliefs and ideas on the new technology being introduced. 

A selection of brightly coloured umbrellas from above
Four floating white steps on a yellow background

Mistake #6: Setting unrealistic expectations 

To gain buy-in from potential champions, you need to give a realistic picture of what’s expected of them, including the benefits and time they’ll need to commit. If they know what they’re signing up for, you’ll avoid disengagement and dropouts.  

Change doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s a good idea to stick to the milestones you’ve set, focus on gradual progress, and celebrate wins along the way.  

Mistake #7: Ignoring feedback 

Champions are on the frontline, working closely with peers. If they raise concerns or suggest improvements – listen up! Ignoring feedback from champions is like hitting ‘snooze’ on the alarmnever a good idea. 

Mistake #8: Underestimating cynicism  

Know and expect that not everyone will embrace change with open arms. There’ll be sceptics and resistance, and that’s normal. Your champions need to understand this and be ready to handle objections and doubt.

Pre-prepared persuasive responses and patience it’s all part of the transformative process.  

Mistake #9:  Breaking momentum 

It’s no use setting your champions up for success, building your champions network and then forgetting about it until the next transformation project crops up. It’s simply counterproductive and you’ll find yourselves starting all over again.  

If you’re rolling out a champions programme, you need to be in it for the long haul. Before you sense a lull in activity during the programme’s journey, look to recharge your champions’ batteries, reassess training needs, and recommit to your communications plan to keep the momentum going. 

Mistake #10: Neglecting reward and recognition

An animated badge with a winking face emoji and the words 'amazing work'

Wow, one of your digital champions just shared some fantastic tips with their colleagues in their monthly team meeting! But wait, you didn’t tell them how amazing it was? Don’t let this happen. 

A shout-out in a team meeting or newsletter, allocating digital badges, or even a simple ‘thank you, you’re doing a great job’, will go a long way in keeping your champions motivated throughout the programme and feeling appreciated for their efforts.  

Ready to rock and roll (out)? 

Launching a Microsoft 365 digital champions programme requires careful planning and a whole lot of teamwork.  

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’re already a few steps closer to making your digital change a success. For more inspiration and to see a successful M365 champions programme in action, check out our case study with Bury Council

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