Drive Google Workspace Adoption with Sponsorship and Evangelism

Posted by Kevin Verde, Manager, Collaboration and Productivity Solutions

Jul 19, 2019


Change is hard. Change management makes it easier. To get your change management initiative to stick, it needs a strong foundation. That’s where sponsorship and evangelism come in. They are necessary first steps when adopting Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).

Today’s workplaces are evolving. Collaboration needs to happen faster than ever, and a digital solution like G Suite can connect teams around the world. A Google Workspace migration requires you to align your business objectives with your IT infrastructure. A change management strategy and plan that involves sponsorship and evangelism is the ideal place to start so your organization embraces Google Workspace life.

A recent McKinsey study showed a significantly higher ROI for projects with excellent change management — a 143% increase. A proper change management plan will increase efficiency and productivity and deliver cloud collaboration ROI, but where do you begin?

Begin with Sponsorship

Getting an initial buy-in starts with sponsorship, and sponsorship starts at the executive level. Once you’ve established organizational readiness, it’s time for a more immersive experience. Business transformation can help people fully understand how this new type of workplace collaboration will look. The transformation process will also establish and secure sponsorship within the larger organization when implementing a solution like Google Workspace. Employees will become vested in the process — and pass that enthusiasm along to their managers and peers.

If you are migrating to Google Workspace from a legacy system, a listening session is the next step after sponsorship is established. This type of session provides space where concerns can be voiced and questions answered. Experts will be present, so employees can ask questions in an open forum.

Sponsorship usually comes from three distinct groups within an organization: executive leadership, business leaders and guides. These groups are important for ensuring the growth and success of your initiative. Executive leadership provides resources and organizational support. Together, these are the foundation for your change management plan to better Google Workspace adoption.

Identifying Google Workspace Evangelists

Your most influential sponsorship group may be your Google Workspace Evangelists. These are early-adopter users who will create and spread the message about your workplace collaboration initiative.

Our client, ATB Financial, Alberta’s largest financial institution, utilized their early adopters to gain traction with fellow employees when they moved from a legacy system to Google Workspace. After aligning their business objectives and IT infrastructure, they chose 50 employees from 300 applications to serve as their internal change agents promoting Google Workspace. These “G Evangelists,” as they were called, helped with messaging and marketing — putting a personalized spin on the process to explain the change to their peers.

According to Calvin Seaman, Director of Communications, Reputation & Brand Team, ATB Financial, “It’s not just about the tools — it’s about getting people excited about what they can do. We took a unique approach to change management, and it paid off because employees were excited about adopting Google Workspace and viewed the transition positively. We didn’t force it on them.”

These employees will be early adopters who can provide peer support. Evangelists need to be up to date on all things G S Suite and must have a customer focus to help your support team. They can also act as an accelerant for your deployment.

So how do G-Suite Evangelists manage to influence change?

It all depends on your culture. Let them have fun with it. This allows the evangelists to get creative and find unique ways to spread the word. For some evangelism teams, specially designed t-shirts easily identify peer members, while others set up shop during lunch in communal eating areas to serve as a resource allowing peers to ask questions.

Internal Branding and Messaging

The biggest impact these evangelists can have on a change management plan and adoption of new workplace technology like Google Workspace is to have clear messaging. Ensuring visibility moves your initiative forward and makes certain it’s clearly understood by all. Creating a marketing plan for how to reach those employees and then following up with a clear communications strategy and plan makes it easier to reach everyone to get them onboard.

Start by creating a solid elevator pitch. Basically, this is the “what’s in it for me” element that all employees want to hear. One of the core tenets of change management is that people will support what they help create. Employees need to understand and embrace how this change will positively affect them. Once this message is created, it’s important to get in front of employees and share this message. This will often be the first communications employees will hear about this change, so you want to do it right.

This elevator pitch should be clear, concise and accurately reflect the message you want to send to employees as you move through this process.

Training and Beyond

Effecting change is challenging, but a solid change management strategy can make it easier. And a solid foundation can make it even easier to get all employees onboard. This foundation ensures that you have a firm place to start. This is not the end of your change management process; it’s just the beginning.


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Kevin Verde, Manager, Collaboration and Productivity Solutions

As a Manager for Onix's Collaboration and Productivity Solutions, Kevin serves as a cloud evangelist by promoting better ways to work both in a brick-and-mortar office and remotely using cloud collaboration tools. He boasts a dual US/EU citizenship and spent four years of his career living and working in Madrid. He also is an advisor for House of Genius ( a non-profit think tank that supports entrepreneurship around the world.

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