Addressing the Human Element in Microsoft 365 Copilot Adoption

Microsoft 365 Copilot is arguably the most innovative tool the company has launched in the last 20 years. But the work of implementing this powerful AI assistant in the organization goes beyond just the tech-focused to-do list of setting up access controls, data governance and other IT-focused tasks. Let’s examine how addressing the human element – ensuring the workforce is properly oriented to what Copilot is and how it changes their daily lives – is an essential ingredient for success. 


Don’t Forget the Human Element when Implementing Copilot 

As Copilot rolls out, the affected workforce needs support in quickly adjusting to new processes and workflow habits tied to Copilot. This support involves a lot more than just sending out a memo to staff that Copilot is up and running. Instead, the Copilot rollout must be backed up with the right workforce strategies, tools and change management programs.

For instance, Copilot not only revolutionizes how data is accessed and delivered to users, but how users themselves should search for information. In particular, pasting too much information into a query can lead to more skewed and irrelevant answers. This may not be a huge deal for a Google or Bing search; but it could lead to errors or inaccuracies embedded into the work product Copilot is generating. 

The change management challenge in this example is that users must be trained in search practices that ensure accuracy when using Copilot for tasks like pulling together historical financial data, details about a trade or research into a regulatory filing.  And that’s just one of many scenarios where implementing Copilot requires more than just technical configurations and other IT-intensive tasks; the human element is also critical for adoption. 


Supporting the Workforce Adoption Journey

Copilot implementation efforts on the IT front must be augmented with a proactive and comprehensive program for employee engagement to effectively communicate the benefits of Copilot to all users. For instance, beyond the search protocol guidance we mentioned above, additional support might include developing user archetypes, or personas, to understand which applications employees are using, how they’re using them and how Copilot is transforming the processes and workflows that govern such use. 

These personas can help with orienting employees to the new Copilot capabilities and processes most relevant to their specific role. Wherever possible, workforce surveys and other feedback loops should be established so users can contribute insights from their hands-on experience with Copilot and its emerging use cases in the business.

Throughout, C-suite leaders should not only communicate the benefits of Coplot innovation to employees; they must lead by example but using and evangelizing the system themselves. This ensures users remain inspired and engaged in an organization’s ongoing technology evolution, and thereby more likely to embrace Copilot and quickly adapt to the system as it gets deployed in the organization. 

Ultimately, these efforts will help streamline adoption for Copilot as a technology that many users still don’t fully understand, including how radically it can improve and transform their lives at work. In that sense, it’s a deja vu moment from several decades ago – when Microsoft Excel first put spreadsheets on the map. Before Excel, spreadsheets were less common and not considered very useful; today, they are everywhere. The introduction of Copilot promises to be a similarly pivotal moment, putting the power of the AI assistant into every employee’s hands, and transforming their everyday work in the process.

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