All aboard! Three tips for overcoming adoption adversity
Let’s start with a simple fact: not everyone is going to like your organisational change. In the context of corporate travel, the reasons for “not liking” your new TMC and/or travel policy can range anywhere from “I don’t like the UI colours in the platform” to “I miss my favourite travel agent.” These reasons are valid, and not only are they allowed to dislike the change, you should acknowledge that. But at the end of the day, this was a business decision. You need everyone’s cooperation.
Tip #1: Acknowledge their discomfort
We probably don’t need to repeat for the millionth time in this change management series that “change is hard,” but accepting that difficulty extends past you and your project team is critical. The discomfort extends to those who weren’t behind the steering wheel and are now being told to adapt. Travel is about people, and so is business. We can’t forget the role emotions play in the process.
There are a few ways to build an acknowledgment framework and depending on the structure and the needs of your organisation, you may need different combinations of the following strategies.
Lunch and learns: These are open lunch hours where employees can relax and enjoy their lunch while being given a short presentation on your change plan, and then ask questions and provide feedback. Lunch and learns are highly effective tools because they are less formal and less of a sacrifice to your employees’ time. If you’re hosting your lunch and learn in the office, provide incentive by catering lunch that day. If it’s remote, send employees an e-gift card to a meal delivery service so they can order lunch and eat while you present.
Office hours: This tactic has become even easier to manage with video conferencing tools. Create a standing, recurring invite on their calendars, and let employees hop in when they have time. People are more inclined to ask a question when they know they don’t have to lose a whole hour (or more) of their workday. This is also a good time to give employees face time with the minds behind your change plan.
Persona-based forums: This strategy can take on many shapes, but it can be anywhere from meetings that are tailored to a specific department, to travellers that prefer a specific airline, all the way to individual one-on-one chats. The goal here is for attendees to feel heard and understood with their questions. Having people of like minds together is an easy way to do this, and inspires nuanced conversations.
Tip #2: Create continuous feedback loops
This requires a bit more effort than just scheduling a meeting or ordering pizza, but it can pay you back in dividends for years to come: building a support ticket structure. It may seem silly that you need a ticketing system for your travel programme, but allowing travellers and employees to submit feedback, bugs, issues, and hopefully even a few compliments in real-time ensures they are being heard and you are never in the dark with where your change plan currently stands.
It’s highly likely you could repurpose your IT ticket framework for your travel programme, or your TMC already has something in place. This is a good time to speak with your Account Manager about the best, and simplest, way to collect and analyse your travellers’ feedback.
Tip #3: Invest in decision support software
Have you heard the phrase “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?” We believe there’s a simpler solution: Just bring the horse the water in the first place. Or in this case, don’t make travellers and employees go searching for information or answers. Provide it while they are interacting with your travel program tech and policies.
Using browser extensions to serve up notifications around safety and risk and booking parameters is one thing, but have you ever thought to use this technology to support change management?
Imagine this: Your traveller logs into FCM Platform for the first time. A pop up with smiley face emojis, or maybe a GIF of someone waving appears with the text: “Welcome to our new online booking experience! Care for a quick tour?” Or, maybe, they’re browsing your Intranet for policy information, and they receive a pop up notifying them that your organisation has a new TMC. This way, you’re meeting your travellers where they’re at, instead of pulling them away from work tasks to learn about your new change.
Transforming change detractors into change X factors
With a few simple steps, you can be well on your way to improving adoption of your TMC change. It just takes a little grit, and maybe a little help from some corporate travel change experts (and it turns out, we happen to know some people who’re great for the job).