Government Modern Workplace Initiative – A Continuous Journey!
Written by Mariano Debono, Nidal Shawish
The Maltese Government and Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) embarked in a modern workplace journey almost two years ago, aiming at meeting the changing business pressures of the workplace — changes from the way individuals communicate and collaborate, becoming more mobile and requiring more flexibility to the way organizations need to adapt to attract and retain talent.
From the moment the modern workplace initiative was conceptualized, MITA didn’t consider it a pure technology project focusing only on the deployment of Office 365, but created a detailed adoption and change management plan that handled the people side of change and put end-user training at the forefront of this effort.
For the very first time, the end-user training on Office 365 focused primarily on instructor-led online sessions first using Microsoft Skype for Business then later switched to Microsoft Teams. The Institute of Public Service complemented the online training that MITA was offering by delivering short courses about Microsoft 365 services in a classroom style training.
MITA with the collaboration of Microsoft has been organising live training events for the Government public sector on various Microsoft products such Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Forms, Microsoft To Do, OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, and SharePoint. This training had started before the pandemic but with the onset of the immediate need to remote working, the training sessions took on a more important role, with a greater intensity and a big number of people took the opportunity of take up training sessions to be able to perform remote working to the best of their abilities. At the same time MITA offered self-paced online training videos and recorded webinars through an e-learning site, to accommodate the needs of people who prefer this learning style or didn’t have the chance to attend the online training sessions.
Moreover, Microsoft Teams – as part of the Office 365 platform being launched – was used as the main communication tool for relevant announcements, trying to eliminate emails and change the people’s working style and mindset. A Champions virtual network was also created, consisting of employees across all Government organizations, leveraging tools such as Teams for monthly community calls, trainings, and communication.
The early key decisions taken during the design of the implementation plan to facilitate Government employees with different training streams during the rollout process of Microsoft365 services were rewarding. When the central Government at the beginning of the pandemic took the decision of remote working, the transition for Public Service employees was smooth and seamless. And different Government departments benefitted from these new modern online tools, for example the Ministry of Health implemented the Telemedicine platform – using Microsoft Teams, doctors communicated with patients and conducted remote health checks.
Training and development remain a top priority for the Government and MITA, aiming at enhancing employees’ skills. MITA will continue with its support and collaboration towards the various public sector to improve their day-to-day work by ‘empowering Government employees through a digital workplace’.