Relationship Manager blog series, July 2021
During the past year, the World Manager relationship management team has successfully helped close to 20 brands launch their new platforms and join our amazing Community of Brands. During this time, we have also seen many platform refreshes; with some brands choosing to rename their platforms and completely start from scratch to simple refreshes of the platforms’ login pages and dashboards with a new colour palette and widget design.
We love partnering with our brands to help them see how different launch ideas can make team member engagement strong from the outset. There are plenty of ways to launch or relaunch your platform well, to get maximum impact. Here are some ideas.
Importance of Soft Launch
Before launching to your entire network, we encourage you to choose a select group of users to ‘soft’ launch to. This could be an entire team from one location, or a group of users at a specific level, like state or location managers. The purpose of this soft launch is to road test the platform on a small group and iron out any kinks before going live. It’s important these users understand that their role is to test the platform and provide feedback, so set them specific tasks to complete and at the end of a specific timeframe, ask them to complete an internal survey to provide you with tangible feedback you can act on before rolling out to the remainder of your network. This is an important step in the implementation process, so don’t skip it!
Launch with Purpose and Set Specific Tasks
Setting daily tasks for users to complete in the first week of launch will go a long way towards creating good habits from the start, that hopefully continue as time goes on. But the key to maintaining that habit is consistency and follow up. Don’t launch with a bang a then let it fizzle out. Make sure you have the resources in place to continue keeping your platform fresh and up to date and ensure your leaders are checking in with teams to ensure they keep logging in and have something to do/ see/read. Tying logins and training completion stats to KPI’s of the management team also helps to keep momentum going. Ensure your platform consistently has something to Inspire, Educate, or Inform the teams.
A schedule of tasks for the first week of launch could look something like this:
- Day 1 - Complete a training module or policy sign off.
- Day 2 - Fill out a form (incident report or location review).
- Day 3 - Submit a social post.
- Day 4 - Create a service desk ticket.
- Day 5 - Write one someone else’s wall.
- Day 6 – Post in the forum.
Have the team log their tasks in some way (upload images into a Location Review) and any team members who complete all of them could go in the running to win a prize.
Super Users or Platform Champions
Creating Super Users or Platform Champions in each region, who become advocates for your platform, is a great way to promote its benefits and encourage others to use it. These team members will become a store’s first point of contact before managers or platform administrators, saving you time and ensuring you invoke change from the “ground up”. Shout them out and make them feel special by posting on their wall and creating a special social profile cover image which lets others know of their special role. Make sure you utilise the Super Users to gain feedback on how the platform is perceived within your network and ask them to make suggestions on how it could be improved. You will find insight form the user's perspective invaluable.
Run a Teaser Campaign and Competition to Name the Platform and/or Tools
This activity is great if you want to get your end users invested in the platform from the get-go and using one of the survey tools to gather the entries to the competition (the Customer Feedback tool is a good one to use if you haven’t launched yet, or Internal Surveys if you are an existing brand) will expose them to the platform’s functionality from early on. Starting weeks (or even months) prior to your expected launch date, start dropping little hints to your network through your existing communication channels, about an exciting new platform coming that will change the way you do business. Use the teaser campaign to ask for platform name suggestions, then, once you have a clear winner, you could try to use any left-over names in other areas of the platform by renaming existing tools. For example, Manuals and Files could be renamed to something more fun or on-brand for your business, some clever names we have seen include, The Vault, The Library, or Knowledge Lounge.
Plan Your Launch Around a Special Event
Although these days it is rare to attend a large full-scale conference or training event in person, it is still possible to launch (or relaunch) your platform and engage your teams via a virtual get-together. Using technology to your advantage is key here and will assist in getting your team familiar with logging in from their devices and using the platform from the very beginning. A clever idea is to use a specially designed QR code on a jar of lollies or other brand-related treat which directs users to the platform. Or (for new brands) you could use the Welcome Email as an invitation to your event, as it will include a link to the platform and the user’s login details. Include instructions on how to download the app and get everyone attending the event (be in virtual or face-to-face) to download the app on the day to receive a coffee voucher or even the video conference link and password. This is also a great opportunity to get them using a variety of the tools on the platform, so don’t forget to have a copy of the conference slides loaded and ready to view in Manuals & Files or by creating an ACTIV presentation and pinning it to the dashboard, and an Internal Survey ready for them to complete before they leave, ensuring you gain immediate feedback about what they thought of your event!
Design a Platform Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to introduce your network to the platform is to get them to explore it. Hiding secret images or codewords throughout the platform and having it lead to a ‘final destination’ such as a folder within Manuals and Files, an image in the Image Gallery, or an Internal Survey can be a fun way to get them familiar with the different tools and functionality. Anyone who finds the final clue could submit a Service Desk ticket to go into the draw to win a gift voucher or just simply bragging rights. Don’t forget to shout them out using the social post feature too!
Training Completion Competition
When first launching your platform, it is a good idea to have training content ready for your team members to complete. Not only does it give users a purpose for logging in, but it shows them the new direction of the business and how things will be done from now on. It’s also a great excuse to refresh everyone (especially those who’ve been around a while) on the company’s vision, and values and some important policies and procedures. You could throw in a little incentive by running a competition for the first location/ region to achieve 100% on their performance monitors could earn themselves a pizza party! Displaying the performance monitor on the dashboard will increase competitiveness between stores and get everyone logging in and completing their training even sooner!
Designing ongoing monthly quizzes – be it for feedback or knowledge testing - will assist in giving users something to do when you first launch, as well as the long-term success of the platform and keep engagement high. It will help with ensuring every team member in the platform is logging in at least once a month to complete their quiz and confirm they are up to date on the latest and greatest products or updates in the company. For example, issue the latest Product Update or Employee Handbook, and include a quiz which tests their knowledge and understanding of the content. All you need is some fun content and the E-Learning or Internal Surveys tool.
Issue Recognition Certificates via Achievement Awards
All going well, your platform should be flying within a few weeks, so why not recognise the hard work of your team members by issuing them a Custom Achievement Award? Keep track of who is logging in the most in the first few weeks by running a Logins report from Stats & Reports. At the end of each week, give these users an achievement award with a recognition certificate attached, and announce the winners using a Notice that is visible to the whole network. This may inspire more of your network users to log in. You can set up a Saved Report to email to you the list of users who are logging in the most each week using in Stats & Reports.
Create a Network Engagement Survey
And finally, if you are one of our legacy brands who have been with us for many years and you are considering a refresh, before you do anything else, be sure to ask your teams what they want. This also applies if you’ve run out of ideas to engage your teams and are unsure of what else your users want to see on your platform, just ask them! You’ll be surprised at how much great feedback and usable ideas you will get! And the best thing is, we already have a comprehensive template saved in Internal Surveys you can use to get to get you started with your questions. If users are slow to respond, try adding a little incentive by way of a prize draw for first X number of entries, it always helps. The Contact Us tool is also a handy tool to use to collect feedback. You could set up a permanent Suggestions Box that is always open and is another way to get users to experience different tools.
In summary, planning an impactful launch is key to the long-term success of your platform. Consider your audience and ensure you have the resources to maintain the platform well after initial launch at a standard you are happy with. Don't forget to use your relationship manager to bounce ideas off and plan your approach, after all, that’s what we’re here for!