As a Business Development Representative for tech companies, I understand that organizations can be hesitant to implement new technologies. I have heard many different reasons as to why companies don’t want to change what they are already using or put new software or systems into place: the cost is too high, it doesn’t fit their needs, or it just isn’t a priority at the time. One reason I often hear is that the company won’t be able to persuade their employees to start using the new technology.
Why would they be hesitant to start using something that is designed to make their work day a little bit easier? It could be because they aren't already very proficient in computers or technology, but often it is just because they got set in their ways. I have to admit I am guilty of this myself. There have been tools that were put in place at AG to help make our jobs easier, and instead of taking the time to learn how to use them, I kept on doing things the way I’d always done them. You watch the webinar, play around with it for a day, a week later someone send you an email to remind you that you should be using this great new tool, and a month after that you’ve totally forgotten that it was ever put in place to begin with.
So how do you convince your staff to take advantage of these great technologies that you have spent a significant amount of time and money implementing? Well, you could send those weekly emails that we all read and then immediately forget, or maybe you could have weekly meetings to check in and make sure people are using the new tool. Of course another option is to call your employees into your office and scream at them until they start shaking, crying, and promising through a stream of tears that they will start using that new software tomorrow. These are all options, but I think we can agree that they aren’t great ones.
I am a huge advocate for positive reinforcement. It is very easy to punish someone for not doing what they are supposed to do, but that doesn’t really encourage them to do the right thing. Often, it just teaches them to not get caught doing the wrong thing. But, if someone is rewarded for doing the right thing, they will make it a point to do so.
Here at AG we recently started using Chatter for Salesforce. This tool allows us to communicate and collaborate with each other and our clients on the go and in real time. We can share reports, access and share data, and instant message, all from a mobile device. It just so happens that at the same time we were implementing this new tool, a lifelong dream came true for our President and COO, Peter Gracey. The first ever AG Salesworks koozies came in the mail.
When I asked Pete if he was excited to have an AG koozie to keep his adult sodas cool on the golf course, he said, "I am hard-pressed to find a point in time in my 11 years of working at AG that was more meaningful to me than the day the koozies arrived. Sorry to everyone that has worked here over the years, but they are simply the most beautiful and meaningful things ever. We've truly arrived... I may actually retire now." I’m not making that up; he literally said that. The point is, from these koozies, a genius contest was created.
Here’s how the contest works. We were told to download the Salesforce Chatter app onto our phones. Everyone was given koozies and asked to take a picture of ourselves or friends using it. We then upload the picture to the AG Chatter group, everyone likes their three favorite pictures, and the person with the most likes on their koozie picture wins a cash prize! This is a really fun idea and there have already been some great pictures shared, but they didn’t set up this contest just to have a few laughs and give away some money.
The hidden point of this contest is to trick us all into using the new Salesforce Chatter tool. Because of this clever contest, we all now have the Chatter app on our phones and have already figured out how to upload files, comment on them, share them and navigate around the site. Now, if I was sent an email that said “Yo, we are using this new Chatting tool now so download that bad boy onto your phone, get familiar and start using it,” I would click on the link, look at it for about a minute, and most likely never look at it again. I definitely wouldn’t bother to download the app onto my phone. Because of this contest, not only do I have the app on my phone, but I’ve check it almost every day since the contest started to see what silly pictures have been posted, read the funny comments, and check if my photo has the most likes. I have learned to use the tool without a long and boring webinar, and have been encouraged to actively use it without a reminder email or someone yelling at me until I cry.
So, next time you are hesitant to implement a new technology because you think your staff won’t take advantage of it, stop and think about how you are presenting it to them. Try to think of some ways to trick them into using it. When in doubt, fun contests and cash prizes almost always work.
What are some clever ways your company encourages its employees? Share your stories and pictures in the comments section!