This week I thought it would be wise to follow my post on understanding users and getting them engaged with another on actually keeping them that way. No mean feat!
Getting employees on the frontline in a position where they believe their needs and wants are being heard is a great achievement and one that enables you to pre-empt issues, address concerns and manage any push back when working on data projects. But continuing this two-way communication is the key to success.
A great way of doing this is by creating a feedback mechanism - a solution that is so simple but so often overlooked. All this needs to be is a dedicated email address that people can use to provide feedback on the project whenever they choose. This must be regularly monitored and emails should be responded to within an agreed timeframe. Always be receptive to communication from employees and consider and respond to feedback that they have provided.
Do take advantage of your organisation’s intranet too. It’s a great place to feature up to date timelines and progress and even informal daily comments from project leaders on the latest achievements and even hurdles. Also, do engage people in honest communications, with honest feedback - using a human approach will help them become more accepting of what the business is trying to achieve.
Another option is to give people the opportunity to volunteer or nominate one person per team to be members of a steering group. This again promotes involvement and engagement, though the business must manage the costs of this – you can run the risk of spending a lot of man hours in meetings.
However, there is nothing stopping the business from being imaginative. Weekly or fortnightly meetings in person, on conference calls or web conferencing, can help to have regular contact with key individuals who will act as spokespeople for their colleagues. Manage it case by case.
A word of warning though. People should be managed to avoid feedback opportunities turning in to a wish list type of exercise. Though steering groups will enable you to learn about what people want, the business still needs to be prescriptive in terms of what will help it achieve its goals. The aim here is to get them on board, keep them informed and to positively connect with them.
Next time, I’ll give you my tips on making sure your end users are ready for the next step - implementation.
Kiran Gill is a data strategy consultant within Experian Marketing Information Services with over 13 years of experience working with customer data in various sectors.