Let me know if this one sounds familiar. When at happy hour, do you or your friends typically spend time talking about the latest dumb thing that happened at work, how clueless the boss is, or how demoralized people are with their jobs? Not exactly a “happy” hour, is it?
I have several friends who work for organizations that have great missions that are very meaningful to my friends. They work hard and regularly put in extra effort because they believe in the mission and they take pride in their work. And yet, they don’t feel that their contribution is acknowledged, valued or appreciated.
Employees want to know that they are valued
It is not enough just to value the work of your teammates and employees. You need to let them know that they make a valuable contribution. You need to align your words and actions so that they internalize the feeling of being appreciated.
Words are great, but actions are better
Many leaders – from the CEO down to front-line supervisors – actually appreciate the contribution of their team. They may even say the words. But they don’t often show it. You need to demonstrate that you value the contribution of others.
Small gestures make a big difference
Demonstrating that you appreciate your employees does not require major time, efforts or expense. Sure, there is a time and place for big awards, cash gifts and bonuses. The problem is that these big ticket appreciation gestures are expense and happen quite infrequently. People appreciate them at the time, but then this feeling of appreciation quickly fades and needs to be renewed.
If you want to keep people motivated, you need to let them know that you are paying attention to the little things they do that make a big difference to the organization.
For example, do your people stay a little bit late to finish something up or stop what they are doing to help a co-worker with a problem they can’t fix on their own? Do they put in just that little bit of extra effort in a meeting or on a deliverable just because they care? Oh, and don’t forget the person who helps protect you from yourself by saying “no” when you are going off-course or taking on too much.
Get creative in showing you care
Acknowledging all of these small contributions is a great way to show that you are paying attention and that you value your co-workers, teammates, and direct reports. But what should you do?
Get creative! For most people, the act of acknowledge their contribution is more important than what they may actually receive. If you have just a couple dollars or a few hundred, you do a lot to demonstrate you care.
Technology can make all of this quick and easy. For example, using the free app Treater, you can instantly send friends a cup of coffee, free drinks, or a night out. And since you can do it right from your smart phone, you can do it while sitting at the airport, while waiting for your next meeting to start, or when waiting at the bar for your friends to arrive. It takes so little effort for you, but makes a big difference to your employee.
Want to go the extra mile? If you can find something that fits with their personal interests it not only shows that you appreciate their contribution, it also shows that you have taken the time to get to know them as a person. Does the person always comment that their kids make a mess? Why not go to Living Social and send them a free house cleaner? Are they a Civil War history buff? Why not get them a carriage ride on the Gettysburg Battlefield?
The point is, taking a few minutes to thank people on a regular basis and show them you care is quick, painless, and goes a long way to helping make them happy and productive. Oh, and it feels pretty good to put a smile on someone else’s face. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!
Things to think about
- What are all the ways you make small acts of appreciation for the little things your employees do every day?
- How could you use small gestures to acknowledge the little things that people do to help adopt to changes (new systems or processes) in your organization?
- How can you get other leaders in your organization to routinely acknowledge the little contributions of their team members?
This famous clip from the movie Office Space is a quick reminder of one of the most commonly overlooked issues when implementing IT systems – motivating people to work. And sure, Initech is a fictional company, but it actually resembles a lot of organizations with which I have worked over the years.
In this scene, the employee Peter Gibbons tells the efficiency consultants how his organization approaches motivation and the impact it has on his work efforts. Does this sound like your organization?
Watch video here.
How do you motivate people to use your IT system?
Whenever you implement an IT system, look at all things affecting employee motivation. Sometimes there are issues with compensation and incentives. Other times the management may actually be demotivating employees.
As Peter says, “I have 8 different bosses right now…so that means when I make a mistake I have 8 different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only motivation – not to be hassled.”
Would WIIFM motivate this employee?
Convention wisdom (which is high on convention, and low on wisdom) often says that when implementing an IT system you should try to “sell people on what’s in it for me”.
Do you think trying to sell Peter on WIIFM would work in this case? Of course not. There are bigger issues that need to be fixed here. And unless these other items are fixed, WIIFM will not work.
So, what will you do to make sure you have motivated people to use your system? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us on the Customer Success Practitioners group on LInkedIn.
I recently had coffee with a very gifted organizational change consultant and we got talking about different change challenges organizations face. She was telling me about one of her clients, a CIO for a large, global organization that is struggling to improve internal operations and performance.
After a few months of work, her client asked, “So, are we changing yet?"
The answer was no.
How will you recognize when change is happening?
How will you know if things are changing or if you are just spinning your wheels?
Will you know where you are in the change process?
How will you know when the change is complete?
While every organization has unique needs and challenges, it is important that you think about these questions. And write down your answers. The more you can do to recognize where you are in the change processes, the better equipped you are to make change happen.
Set specific change goals. And deadlines.
While some changes are harder to map out and recognize (e.g., organizational culture change) other changes (e.g., adopting a new system or adhering to new policies) can be mapped out with clarity. Whenever possible, setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) change goals can help align efforts and drive action. Of course, these can then become the metrics against which both change and users are measured.
For example, many organizations do not even set specific user adoption targets when rolling out a new system. When I have helped organizations set targeted weekly CRM system use goals (like create 4 accounts week 1, create 3 opportunities in week 2, etc.) we have consistently seen rapid increase in effective system use.
Assign ownership and accountability
Making sure that everyone is clear on who is responsible for making the change happen, and how and when you will hold them accountable, is critical to your success. Many change efforts are focused on completing change activities, but they are not focused on achieving change outcomes.
If you want a specific change outcome, make sure your change leaders understand the outcome they must deliver and what happens if they hit/miss/exceed those goals.
Pivot when necessary
Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum and when you make one change, it kicks off a domino process. Other changes – some planned, many not – will happen. You need to make sure you are constantly monitoring your organizational landscape to address any emerging issues and opportunities.
But be careful. Pivoting to respond to emerging issues is important, and do it in a way that does not remove accountability for achieving stated goals. When you shift your goals (short- or long-term) make sure everyone is still clear on ownership, expectations, incentives, and accountability.
When talking with a friend who’s a life-long fitness fanatic, she told me she recently started a 10-week fitness boot camp. This is in addition to her other, ongoing, regular scheduled fitness activities. Even though she is a marathon runner and a competitive swimmer, she was raving about the boot camp.
When she was telling me all the things she loves about it, I learned that some of the tactics and principles of the fitness boot camp could easily be applied to CRM user adoption. Here’s how.
Exercise boot camps give your fitness level a quick lift and measurable results. Can you do the same for your CRM?
My friend is already in great shape, but since she started the boot camp she has seen a marked improvement in results. She said she needed to shake things up and this was a great way to get a quick lift in results.
The same thing can be done with your CRM adoption effort. (Of course, this assumes you already have an ongoing CRM adoption program. You do, don’t you?)
Sometimes a short-term effort to boost adoption can help you shake things up for your users and get them to a new level. Sure, you still need an ongoing CRM user adoption program, but the occasional, creative, unique short-term effort can help you get even more value of your CRM investment.
Challenge yourself to be better
The exercise boot camp is great for people who are already in good shape and want to get even better.
The same goal can apply to a short-term CRM adoption initiative. If you have people who are already using the system, challenge them to find new and creative ways to use even more of its functionality. Encourage them to use the system as part of their daily routine. Challenge them to become your ideal user.
Push me to achieve more
Fitness boot camps challenge people to increase both their endurance and their overall strength. Run longer. Lift more weight. Do more than you thought you could do. Get better results than you could even imagine.
The same can apply to your CRM adoption effort. Challenge users to learn new shortcuts in the system. Help them reduce the time it takes to complete transactions in the system. Help them find new ways that they can automate tasks they are currently performing manually. In short, challenge them to find how they can get more value out of using your CRM system.
Tell me what to do
My friend said what she liked about the boot camp is that it was easy. The instructors told her what to do, how fast, and how many times. She enjoyed the challenge. And the support.
I am shocked at how many CRM initiatives fail simply because people did not ask users to use the system. If you want to increase adoption, ask users for exactly what you want. Tell them how many records they need to create. Tell them when they need to start and stop. Tell them what system modules to use. Tell them on which screen they should enter the information.
Telling users exactly what you want them to do makes it easy for them to do it. They then can focus their energies on making sure they did the job right, and not waste time trying to figure out exactly what it is you want them to do.
Make me part of a team
A large benefit of the boot camp is the sense of camaraderie among the participants. People feel like part of a team. They encourage and support each other.
And there is a sense that you don’t want to let your teammates down.
Shockingly, you can do the same with your CRM adoption effort. You can develop teams and get people to work together. Help people understand that they succeed or fail together.
Let them know that there are other people counting on them.
Get them to help each other.
Make it fun
Just because something is challenging, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. The boot camp gets you smelly, dirty, and generally nasty. And people love it!
Why not make your CRM adoption program fun? How can you get people to enjoy learning the new system? What intrinsic rewards do you want people to receive from adopting the system? Challenge yourself to make people smile and laugh as they learn the system. It makes a difference.
Let it be over!
All good things must come to an end. Races have finish lines. Boot camps have that last class. People need that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel. It both motivates and gives people a sense of accomplishment. In many cases, people quite literally “have the t-shirt” at the end of it all.
You can do the same with your CRM program. Yes, I have said many times you need an ongoing user adoption program to sustain effective use of the life of the CRM system. However, you can still include short-term, boot camp-inspired activities to boost CRM adoption. Just like with the boot camp, having defined start and end points can guide and inspire your audience.
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