Goal: Champions Program

Brass Contributor

Hi!  I am just starting out on the Adoption path and am very excited!  I have checked out Microsoft Service Adoption Specialist course and been reading many of your insightful comments on Change Management.  We deployed Teams back in March 2020 when most users went remote.  Unfortunately, due to the early deployment, people never got a chance to fully explore what Teams could do for them unless they chose to explore it themselves.  Our users use OneNote, Outlook, Forms, and Teams.  We will be remote for the foreseeable future.  We are a smaller business, 600+ with a mixture of frontline and call center.  We have some plans to have a live event and other ways of showing users how our executives/Team Leaders are using Teams.  What advice do you have for beginning a Champions Program while working remote?  How have you affectively engagement with your early adopters without overwhelming them?  What goals or deadlines did you set for yourself as a smaller business to make creating a Champions program more "bite-size?"  Please feel free to add any advice you think would be helpful as I start out on this adventure :) 


7 Replies
best response confirmed by OLED365 (Brass Contributor)

Hi @OLED365


First, to recruit some champions, it is important the call come from the top management but not only. What we have missed at my place is to effectively engage the middle management, the direct managers of the champions. It is easier to grow the community when the manager suggests : "who from the team is interested to be a champion?" rather than having the interested employees proactively volunteer. Also having a clear WIIFM is important! Think about what you want to set up for them first rather than recruit them first and actually have nothing that happens. You will lose them quickly. Maybe think as well of what is going to be their "onboarding path" as champions.


Then, in terms of connecting with them, I am organizing a monthly call with them with always an agenda covering what is new at Microsoft, what is new at our company regarding new ways of working + extra training offer, etc. Those monthly calls have really helped creating a "relationship" between our global office and the remote champions. We also have a Team (but a yammer group would also make the job) where news are shared, and where all champions can ask their questions. 

I am also sending a monthly newsletter following that call with a recap of the most important points. In terms of goals, we have 1 champion for 100 employees. I think this is ok when the change is well installed but to boost adoption, I could read 1 : 50 - 1 : 40 is recommended. This is what I target to achieve. 


I hope this gave you some ideas. Let me know if you are interested in a quick call to share experience!



@Meustine Thank you!  That's very helpful :)  Awesome advise to call on the middle management-I was really struggling with how to allow these Champions feel that they could justify some time away from their work to learn-even when what their learn in the long run will also help their co-workers.  I'm glad to hear you have a Team, I don't think we're ready to get into Yammer-although I see lots of opportunity there.  Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas, you've given me a lot to think about :).  I'd be very interested to talk about your experience.  

Hi, I'm Andrew, and I'm in that exact situation. Smallish company, things began to deploy around the time everyone went home to work, and I have the impression that it wasn't done that well. I'm new to the organization (two weeks today) and have been tasked "filling in the holes" and making the rest of the deployment smoother. The original response was very insightful. I need to recruit some champions and begin connecting with them.


I'll look forward to following this post and finding out how things are going for you.


@OLED365 Here are some tips of how I create champion programs: 

  1. Is there an existing community you could leverage? (Think interns/previous work groups, assistants, young company network). Recruit people on the intranet, or let other ambassadors bring in colleagues. Or let managers appoint someone in their team, but be aware that there is usually a different motivation between volunteers and people who are 'voluntold'.


  1. What is expected of a champion? Try to be specific in their role:
  • Willingness to share knowledge and help other colleagues
  • Easy to approach character
  • Can speak language of colleagues (not technical)
  • Actively provide input/feedback on way of working
  • Join community calls/trainings


  1. What is in it for the champion?
  • Become expert in new ways of working
  • Increase network & visability
  • Early access to new features & training
  • Develop coaching skills
  • Be part of the community
  • Learn from other teams
  1. How will the community be managed (which platform Teams/Yammer) and is there a specific community manager?
    If you do Teams think of relevant channels e.g.
    - General: announcements/tips/tricks
    - Activities: trainings/workshops/webinars
    - FAQ: for FAQ & knowledge sharing
    - Playground (tell people to turn off notifications): let people play around and try things out.


  1. What will be the rhythm of sharing information/community calls to keep them engaged?

Mondays: tip/trick (tip for yourself: Microsoft 365 Training or follow Microsoft employees on LinkedIn for latest tips and insights).
Monthly community call: let ambassadors determine content
e.g. feature updates, activities coming up, best practice sharing, highlight/train a specific feature etc.

  1. How will you gather feedback from champions, and how often? (Check out forms)
    Monthly form on Teams, short polls in the meantime (1 question e.g. How was your meeting experience this week)

    Good luck!

@SanneP that's such a good recap of what should be at the foundation of a champions program!

Great work!

@OLED365 the community members have provided some great thoughts and resources here! We've also got some resources on our Adoption Hub for Champions. I'd also add that Champions are a powerful and amazing group to help advocate and drive solid adoption for any organization. It's why we are so passionate about the community and why they are so vital to great organizational transformation!


@Meustine / @SanneP thanks for the solid additions on champion programs in this thread as well!


Look for some new content and tools in the coming months to help manage and inspire champion communities as well!



@SanneP Thank you, that's a great framework! I've read so much material about how to develop a Champions program that I was having a hard time simplifying it.  Both you and @Meustine have really helped break this down into something more manageable.  I really appreciate the guidance!