We can all probably agree that the last six months have seen us all go through more change both personally and professionally than any other six-month span in our lives.
For that reason, and because change management is one of the key pillars in our Salesforce Operational Excellence Handbook, we decided to address it in our latest “Ask the Expert” webinar. Hosted by 10K’s CEO Nick Hamm, we took a deep dive with the co-founders of Montage Learning, Sarah Risen-Robertson, and Lizz Hellinga.
You can also view the captioned recording here.
Is change management just for big companies? Why or why not?
While people tend to think change management is something only big companies do, that’s certainly not the case. However, while working with a smaller company enables one to move quicker and be more agile which makes change management seem as though it can be easier, you should be cautious and treat change with care and thoughtfulness regardless of the size of the company.
Ultimately, change management is about building trust and getting people to go on the change journey with you. That said, the sooner you can start to develop those best practices, the more likely your stakeholders, team, employees, and whoever else is involved in whatever change you’re implementing, the less resistance you’ll find, and the better it is for your organization and your customers.
Where should I start on the change management journey?
First, let’s define “change management.” It’s the set of tools, resources, processes, skills, and principles used to manage change. In terms of things you can do today to start enabling effective change in your organization, here are five places to start:
- Understand and communicate the “why” behind the change
- Knowing your stakeholders
- Empathy and listening
In addition to executive buy-in, what other roles in the organization are important to have onboard and engaged as part of a change management process?
While having executive support is essential, also having your super users on board, who can be your internal champions, is huge. Start by identifying them at the beginning of the process so you can engage them throughout the process and understand who else can champion the change and fan the flames of excitement for it.
When you talk about building trust among your stakeholders and finding out who your stakeholders are, what are some tactics that you would use?
From a stakeholder perspective, try to understand anyone who is involved, map out the process, and if you have time and resources, start to ask those who are in the process who else should be involved. A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in your project. The better you understand who they are and identify them, the better it is for the project in the long run.
Why are empathy and active listening important?
Listening is the most underrated skill both among admins and Salesforce consultants. As the saying goes, “click a mile in someone’s shoe.” Sit and shadow them to understand pain points, get to the core of how much swivel desking they are doing, such as toggling between five different apps, and so on. Having empathy and understanding about what your end-users and stakeholders are going through is only going to benefit everyone involved, so schedule a few minutes with them. They will feel valued and it builds trust. At the end of the day, we all want to be heard.
For a huge change, it’s difficult for one person to do everything. How else can you leverage those stakeholders and super users to be more effective than just a solo admin?
Super users are a great way to empower your colleagues. As a solo admin, you should understand who the communication comes from. You might think it needs to be top-down and come from an exec, but sometimes that can be a little harsh. But when you have a super user who is a peer and colleague of other end users who are leading that messaging, it can have a bigger impact and get people excited.
Understand the stakeholders and who you could elevate by giving them an opportunity to communicate.
When is it time to bring in an outside firm like Montage Learning? Why are companies coming to a company like yours and what are key indicators when people know they need outside help?
There are a few reasons why any company would want to bring in an outside firm like Montage. The first is when the change is big. If you’re planning for more than 30-60 days of a rollout and training people, oftentimes you’re going to need extra support. Second, you might have limited bandwidth, where you have a lot to do but not a lot of time to strategically put this change into place in a meaningful way. Third, if your team lacks the skills or experience around change management, it’s important to bring in an outside company to help you focus and be that outside voice that can ask you questions and get you on the right track down the path of change.
Additionally, given that not everyone has change management skills, but you consider change important to you, bringing on outside help is a great opportunity to invest in some of your employees to get them leveled up on change management skills. It’s one of the best ways to elevate an admin’s career.
How do you know if your change is actually effective?
The easiest way to do this, which too often people don’t do, is to determine KPIs at the beginning of the project. Change management aligns with what you’re expecting the end-users to do, so establish a set of metrics at the onset. Also, this will help you down the line when you want to do an even bigger change and you have the metrics to show the value and impact of your last set of changes. You’ll have more buy-in from people when the time comes to go bigger.
What are some of the communication tactics that you’ve found to be effective?
First, meet your users where they are and where they’re comfortable, not necessarily where you want to bring them. Then, consider making a predictable plan for every change so that people’s expectations are set. Depending on the scale of change, for instance, do we need to do recordings? Do we need to do quick sheet walkthroughs? Create a predictable plan of what you need to do so that when people come to you for change, they know you are going to communicate in these methods.
When it comes to L&D (Learning and Development), what are some of the tools that you’ve seen that have been effective, regardless of budget?
- In App guidance prompts. This is a free feature available to everyone in Salesforce and you can put in on a page and set by profile, how often it shows up, etc.
- Picklist values.
- Camtasia is a great, easy-to-use video editing tool, so you can do recordings of step throughs of what you’re showing people to do. You want people to know where to go to get their answer and this is a simple, easy way to do so. Whether it’s a Google drive or share drive or within Salesforce, set expectations on where they can find answers.
In our last webinar, we talked about myTrailhead. Have you all seen any companies successfully use that as part of their change management strategy?
Yes, we were actually in the pilot program for Salesforce and we used it to completely revamp onboarding for a company. Using myTrailhead, we moved all of our onboarding from day one kind of stuff online to myTrailhead so people could go through it at their own pace, come back and reference it, and have all the information they needed. Then we turned our in-person orientation into more of a cultural immersion and we had some amazing statistics come out of that, including reducing the cost around orientation by 50% just by moving it to myTrailhead. We also reduced the number of questions from new hires by around 75%. myTrailhead is a powerful tool when you want to implement change.
What do I need to be effective with myTrailhead?
Understanding L&D principles is invaluable because you need to effectively define learning objectives. You also have to be really specific on what you want the learner to do as a result of completing those modules. So having some of that background is helpful. myTrailhead is an incredible tool but you have to think about what you envelop it with because it’s a part of your training strategy, not all of it. Is there coaching that can be involved? Do you need staff to do some stand and deliver after they complete a trail on a new product? Think beyond just myTrailhead.
How do you manage change remotely for distributed teams (for instance, in the era of COVID-19)?
Once again, empathy is so important to change, especially now. Approach everyone with grace because you never know what they’re dealing with. Take time to talk to your stakeholders. Also, meet your team and users where they are by making the content bite-size and consumable. Not everyone can operate within the standard 9-5 realm anymore so the more flexibility you can provide, the better.