Designing a Microsoft 365 training and adoption plan needs to be specific to your business and, importantly, your users. In this short guide we hope to give you some key tips on how to create a training plan that will work for both your users and your business. The main aim of the plan is going to be ensuring your users feel enabled and are actively encouraged to use Microsoft 365 to help them with their daily tasks.

What does success look like?

Before starting with your plan you need to decide and document what success looks like for your business. By implementing Microsoft 365 are you hoping to increase productivity, security, collaboration, all the above or something else? Only when you have documented this, can you then work backwards and create a training and adoption plan working towards these goals.

Who should be involved?

There will be many people involved to ensure the success of your Microsoft 365 training. We find the task of creating the training plan often comes to either the IT team or the HR team depending on who is owning the project inside the company. We do find that the most successful outcome comes when both parties get together, uniting the technical knowledge with the knowledge of the individuals involved.

Champions

Champions are individual users from within your teams and they may be managers or end users. Their role is to be involved in the planning stages of the training plan creation, to be the first users to review the training plan and the course contents, and ultimately be the champions for the adoption of Microsoft 365 across the business. We have found that, where end users are involved in any project, by recruiting the right champions you will have a much higher chance of success.

Partners

Whilst most businesses will have the ability to offer some form of training internally, it is highly recommended to work with a training provider who helps you to create a plan that is specific to your needs. Look for a partner who can be flexible to your needs and offers a mixed training approach covering elements such as e-learning, instructor-led training, content creation and floor walking.

What should be included?

A successful Microsoft 365 adoption strategy will need to be supported by a training plan covering several different elements depending on how you plan to implement Microsoft 365 for your business.

Microsoft 365 Familiarisation Training

As there are so many components to consider within Microsoft 365, a good place to start for all users would be some form of Microsoft 365 familiarisation training, which will show the users how to access the Microsoft 365 dashboard, give a high-level overview of the applications that are available and ideally give some relevant use cases to highlight how the company suggests the applications may be used to help users’ productivity. Look to use this overview training as a launch event, launching your use of Microsoft 365 to the users. We would recommend that this training was delivered in such a way that it doesn’t become a short training session and never discussed again. Consider handout cheat-sheets, offering drop-in sessions for more information, publish videos on the intranet, and more. Look to drive this training over a period of several weeks via these various means to ensure adoption.

Suggested elements 

  • Have a launch event and discuss the company’s vision for Microsoft 365
  • Ensure the users are aware of personal benefits to them, such as the ability to use Microsoft applications on their tablets
  • Have short instructor-led familiarisation training
  • Offer handouts with key elements to be remembered
  • Offer some form of e-learning to dive deeper. For example, you could have some short videos available on your intranet showing how to make the most out of OneDrive and OneNote
  • Involve your champions; get them to discuss their thoughts and findings 

E-Mail Migration and Training 

The first stage for most is to migrate users’ emails to Microsoft 365, and in most cases this should largely be a transparent process to the end users. However, make sure you consider any elements that may change for the end user, such as how the user accesses email via a web browser when they are working from home or consideration of any changes regarding how they will access email spam filtering services.

Application Specific Training

There are so many applications available as part of Microsoft 365 that we would recommend concentrating on driving the adoption of only a couple at a time. Beyond the basics of email, personal files (OneDrive) and notes (OneNote), we recommend understanding where your users will see the biggest benefit and concentrating on these applications first. We have included two examples below. 

  • Internal communication – Yammer and Microsoft Video 
  • Personal and Team Task Management – Planner 

It can be important when moving onto application specific training that you create content that is relevant to your users and their use cases, or work closely with your training partner to ensure they are aware of your use cases and workflows.

Review and Assess

A critical element is going to be constantly reviewing and assessing your plan. Speak to your users and understand how they are finding the training and, importantly, how are they getting on using Microsoft 365. Understand what they would like to learn more about or maybe where they feel they need further clarification.