Change can be hard when it comes to workplace technology. Employees get used to certain systems – however outdated and inefficient they might be – and sometimes resist the introduction of new solutions – however effective and laboursaving they might be. At many organizations, legacy intranets get in the way of strong internal communications, employee engagement, and workflows. This was the situation confronting the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).
The OMA’s 280 employees support more than 40,000 physician members across the province. While it’s an organization with a long history and rich traditions, going back to its founding in 1880, OMA members work in the ever-changing, fast-paced medical field. To provide the best possible service now and in the future, the organization chose a next-gen digital workplace platform from Igloo Software. But not everyone at the organization was ready for change.
The shortcomings of legacy intranets
Before the OMA started looking for a solution, the organization wisely conducted an internal communications audit and employee interviews to fully understand the drawbacks of their current systems. The results reinforced the fact that the existing intranet, built in 1998, was not meeting current needs or delivering a positive employee experience. The central challenges of the archaic intranet included:
- Limited channels for collaboration
With its long history and almost 300 employees, the OMA has a wide range of experience and expertise. Yet that valuable institutional knowledge was trapped in siloes, not shared across the organization.
- Scattered information
The legacy intranet had no central place for business-critical information such as policies, procedures, and documentation. Employees wasted time searching for what they needed to do their jobs.
- Divided demographics
The existing systems at the OMA were not designed to appeal to – or promote productivity in – the different generations co-existing at the organization. Some employees adopted new technologies with ease, while others required extra help and support, preferring the older systems.
The transformative effect of a next-gen intranet
It quickly became obvious that the 20-year-old intranet couldn’t be upgraded or expanded; it had to go. The OMA partnered with Igloo Software who worked alongside the organization to build a new digital destination that connects every employee, creates a central repository of vital information, and offers a positive user experience for all ages and tech abilities.
To stir enthusiasm among those employees who were wary of change and promote maximum uptake across the organization, the OMA used these strategies:
- Build some fun into the launch
In preparation for the full roll-out, the OMA created a funny promo video that sent a key message about the need to shed the old ways of doing things and make way for the new. This kind of soft launch – which could also include a lighthearted email series, print material, or special events – can attract interest and get the conversation started.
- Encourage employees to create their own content
When employees feel a sense of ownership in a new digital workplace, it boosts their engagement and usage. The OMA started with top-level control over much of the content in their digital destination, but discovered that employees needed a stronger voice. Soon employee blogs sprung up, and there was widespread usage of the social features.
- Make it a single source of truth and tools
If a digital destination is known to have everything employees need to stay productive and in the know, they’ll go there first. The OMA established its digital workplace as the one reliable place to access essential news and resources, communication tools, and digital assets.
Despite the initial misgivings of key staff members, the OMA has successfully implemented a new digital workplace in an organization with roots in the 19th century. Smart implementation strategies and digital workplace solutions that address real business problems have resulted in high satisfaction and usage rates. The 1,500-plus views on the inaugural National Pet Day post say it all.
Read the full story of how the Ontario Medical Association worked with Igloo to build and launch their online destination.