In 2015 I was hired by a nonprofit that had spent 20 years living off Excel spreadsheets, Outlook contacts, and Post-Its. They never once had a database—though they attempted to convince me that a shared drive counted as one. In less than two years , I managed the creation of their database and trained everyone to use it.
The entire staff rushed, drooling, at this shiny new system like it was a free buffet. OH WAIT. THEY DIDN’T.
Getting employees—and workplace habits and culture—to change is hard. So is using humor effectively in the workplace (and so is selling Salesforce as a laugh riot). I decided to use FUNNY to get them on board, and it WORKED. Here’s my tip sheet for how you can do it, too—or just create your own funny disturbance in the ‘Force.
Your best selfie. Every user in the system can upload a picture for their profile. That picture is attached to all your actions and for everyone in the system to see.
But everyone knows what Zoe from Accounting looks like. So stop using your bland background corporate headshot and start using … baby pictures or the picture that best represents you! I fostered a culture where people were encouraged to be their best picture self. My best self was a cat with a mustache. Others were cute babies, or awkward prom-goers, or epic Halloween costumes! When staff are busy updating contacts, seeing a cute kitty staring back makes them smile.
Pro Tip: As an admin, you can log in AS someone else and set a picture for them! I used to go in for people’s birthdays and change their picture to celebrate! Or, just because, log in and change their photo to The Rock and his fanny pack to see how long it took them to figure it out.
Imposter example accounts. For training purposes, admins set up a test contact (person) and account (company) for users to review. Send John Smith or Jane Doe on permanent vacation and start using your staff’s favorite fictional characters instead! When users are sitting around the conference room table expecting another boring training, make them snicker with an example-profile of Indiana Jones instead.
And don’t just do it a little– go all the way! The fun is always in the details! Me? I went full Darth Vader. I filled out his whole contact profile as though he was a real lead. I wrote things like: Name: Mr. Anakin Skywalker. Title: Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces. Job: Sith Lord. Address: Darth Vader’s Palace. Filled out Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa under relationships. Next task with Darth? For a task I wrote: Follow up email about Death Star. See? Training can be fun.
Wrong is the new right. When a user inputs data incorrectly into a field, a message appear can appear indicating an error. The default message is pretty boring. I started customizing the response to inject some love and personality into the error message. And you can do this for every field, allowing for endless varieties of pop-up messages. Make a dozen or so different types and scatter them throughout the system. Tell the staff to find and collect them all. The winner gets the prize for doing the most things wrong! While they’re busy Pokémoning Salesforce, you are teaching and engaging them through the magic of fun.
Customize it. Salesforce is so widely adopted because of its customization. Do not waste this amazing capacity. Using persuasive humor to inspire amusement and catalyze action can increase user adoption and accurate data collection. Instead of a field called “Giving Capacity,” why not ask “How Much Money Is In the Banana Stand?” or Find your company’s language and use it.
Bring back AIM! Sorta. “Chatter” is Salesforce’s version of AOL Instant Messenger (RIP). It is a powerful tool for a companies to communicate effectively. You can be in the moment, fix problems, and capitalize on successes. But it only works if people are in the system. Allow staff to chat freely and with their personalities. It doesn’t have to be all memos and agendas. Incentivize by tagging colleagues in funny memes from The Office or links to videos of puppies learning to swim. I used to tag colleagues in Chatter asking them if they’d seen my red swingline stapler. What would you chat?
Back to school. You know that feeling when you feel you finally understood how to do something, then 14 minutes later it’s all changed? That’s Salesforce. It’s constantly being updated, with users having to relearn new policies and procedures. As the administrator at my nonprofit, I was the one who had to both let people know and train them again. I didn’t feel good sending those emails, but I knew I could soften the landing with empathy, acknowledgement, and humor. How? With The Matrix movie clips and Game of Thrones. As in: “If Neo can know kung fu, you’ll know Salesforce.” Or, as Ned Stark said, “Salesforce is coming.” Also chocolate. They always listen when candy is involved. I’m not above that.
Which one of these are you going to unleash on a coworker? Have any to add to the list? Let us know @GOLDcmdy!