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ADKAR Distilled @Office365Distilled

This Blog is inspired by a Podcast from Steve and Marijn but without the Whisky.

The ADKAR model is a framework for change management first proposed in 1998. Since then, it has seen success in helping teams, organizations, and companies make moves big and small with minimal friction.

The ADKAR acronym stands for five unique stages in a change process: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.

The model suggests that these five factors must be present for change to occur at the individual level. Change cannot happen unless individuals are aware of the need for it, desire to make the change, have the knowledge and ability to do so and are reinforced in their efforts.

While each letter of the ADKAR acronym represents a distinct change component, they are all interconnected. For example, an individual may be aware of the need for change but lack the desire to actually make it happen.

Similarly, someone may have the desire to change but not the ability or knowledge to do so. It is only when all five factors are present that true, lasting change can occur.

Here's a short overview of each component of the ADKAR model:


Individuals must be aware of the need for change and the reasons why it is necessary.

For companies that are looking to move to the cloud with Microsoft365, awareness begins with understanding the benefits of cloud computing and how it can help improve business operations. This includes the key stakeholders who are involved in the decision-making process.

It's critical to measure awareness early and often - using surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews - to gauge whether employees are receptive to the idea of change and understand why it's necessary.

With high levels of communication (email, company intranet, video conferencing, etc.), it's important that everyone is on the same page regarding the proposed changes and the reasons for them.


Once individuals are aware of the need for change, they must want to make the transition.

This includes having a positive attitude towards change and feeling confident in their ability to make the switch. For companies moving to Microsoft365, this means employees must believe that using the cloud will be easier and more efficient than their current way of working.

One way to boost this message of "desire" is by bringing your sales team to the change management process. They are experts at convincing people to try new things and can help get employees excited about the benefits of Microsoft365.

Building desire and interest strategically can help alleviate fear and anxiety that may be associated with change. As with any change, knowing how to pique desire early can make all the difference with any change.


Individuals must know how to make the desired changes.

This includes understanding what needs to be done and having the skills and abilities to do it. Knowledge is where desire turns into practical action.

When it comes to using Microsoft365, employees need to know how to use the system and its various features and functions. They should feel confident in performing their job tasks using the cloud-based platform.

This is where training comes in. Providing employees with the resources and support they need to learn about Microsoft365 - through instructor-led training, webinars, self-paced tutorials, etc. - is essential to successful change.

Personas can be incredibly beneficial in this stage, as they help identify the specific knowledge an individual needs in order to make a successful transition. If your company operates internationally, it's important to tailor training programs to meet the needs of employees in different countries and cultures.

Ambassadors help here as well - the right people can make a big difference in how others view and accept change.


Individuals must be able to put their knowledge into practice and actually make the desired changes.

Ability is a more difficult element of the ADKAR change process. Ability ensures that the end-user has no excuse for not completing the task - they have the knowledge and skills to do it and the time and resources.

When it comes to Microsoft365, users should know exactly what elements need to be changed in order to successfully transition to the cloud. This means having a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when and how it will impact their daily workflow.

This is where Sharepoint guides on news pages and measurable KPIs come in - they help individuals understand their specific responsibilities in the change process and hold them accountable for meeting certain goals.

Measure, measure, and measure again to ensure that employees are making progress and meeting objectives. Track page views within your Sharepoint to measure what questions in FAQs are being clicked to boost understanding.


Finally, reinforcement must be put into place to ensure that the desired changes are made on a permanent basis.

This includes both rewards for individuals who make the switch and consequences for those who don't. It's important to celebrate successes along the way - this will help motivate employees to continue making progress.

But a key element in reinforcement is finding those "laggards" who are slow to change - and adapting your strategy accordingly.

For example, you might offer additional training or support to those struggling to make the transition. Taking a holistic look at where your teams are at this point will help you refine your messaging and approach to better meet their needs.

Move to Microsoft365 Smoothly with ADKAR

Using the ADKAR method to transition to Microsoft365 can help ensure a smooth, successful process. By focusing on the needs of your employees at each stage of the change process, you can build a solid foundation for success.

As a bonus, successful implementation of ADKAR will help build trust and confidence in your employees for future changes - setting you up for even more success down the road.

Put the ADKAR model in your pocket, and watch as your company reaps the benefits of a successful cloud transition.

Want to learn more about how to distill key digital adoption techniques? Don't miss a single episode of Office 365 Distilled - the only podcast focused on digital adoption. You can also check out more great resources on Digital Efficiency, ADKAR, and Baseline Governance.

Let Steve and Marijn guide you and your teams through the best ways to use, implement, and guide the adoption of Office 365 for your team (with a few drinks along the way!)

Download and listen wherever you get your podcasts.


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