7 Tips to Ensure Your New Workplace Initiatives are Successful
Once a new company initiative has been launched, it is often felt that all the hard work has been done. The reality is that it is only just beginning.
Similar to launching a new website, once the new site is up the important work starts. Savvy marketers know that you need to continually test different pages and keep tweaking until you get the best results. It’s the same with a new company wide launch: you have to keep monitoring the results with health and safety software, keep people on track and modify instructions if they are not working.
Here are 7 tips to keep your health and safety initiative running at full speed. They are best undertaken a few weeks after launch and are based on the techniques in the book "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath (book cover picured right).
1) Follow the bright spots - The most important first step is to investigate what is working. Focus on what is going right, rather than what is going wrong. There will always be a handful of superstar managers who will work out a way to make the initiative look easy. Track down who is doing it right and why? Shadow those who have migrated across to the new behaviour to discover what it is they are doing well.
Have they streamlined the process? Are they motivated by fear? Work out what they are doing and clone it. Remember, by focusing on the positives, you will get more positive results, than if you were to focus on the negatives (which coincidentally, gives you more negative results).
2) Change the environment – What often looks like a people problem can actually be a situation problem. By following superstars, you might discover that people aren’t submitting their reports on time because they are not sure how to collect some of the information (and superstars have an easier method). Rather than make the process hard, what can you re-engineer so that staff can access the information easily? Can you have a page on your intranet that centralizes data that people can include for their reports? Do you have document management software in place?
3) Script the critical moves - Once you have discovered what your superstar managers are doing, develop clear instructions on what you expect others to do. Let everyone know in as few steps as possible. Make it easy and try to build it into a habit.
4) Communicate your successes – Humans look to others to see what behaviour is the right one. Build on this, by publishing who is getting the right results or doing the right thing. Paint them as a hero. Write a case study in your newsletter about how Sue from accounts manages to submit her weekly report each week without fail. End it with clear instructions on the steps she takes for success. Another option is handing out awards to your super stars in public.
5) Communicate the Collective Goal – Assuming that you goal wasn’t clear enough, re-word it. Try and give it a nickname. For example: Say you goal is to submit “50 reports in 50 days” you could make it catchy by saying “50 to 50″. Organize as many visuals of the goal as you can. Get creative (use screen savers, posters, have visual reminders of how close you are getting to reach the goal, organise printed pocket sized cards etc). Get everyone on-board by appealing to their group identity. Make everyone feel part of a team.
For example: rally the troops in a speech using inclusive language. ”Come on, guys, we’re production people we’re good at doing things fast!’ or “Come on every-one, we’re XYZers the best company in our industry, as a leader in our field we can do better than this!
6) Using the Power of Small Wins – Ever used a loyalty card where, for example, if you buy 10 coffees you get one free? Research has found that people are more likely to use a loyalty card if one coffee has already been stamped, so you only have nine to go. However, if people are given a loyalty card with no stamps, they are less likely to use it.
One way to motivate people is to make them feel that they are closer to the finish line than they thought. In what ways can you let the team know that they are already on their way? How can you pre-stamp their coffee card, so to speak?
7) Do a regular public review – Depending on how quickly you get results, do a weekly or monthly review meeting where you publish the results you are getting. Make it clear to everyone that most of the group is doing the right thing. By publicizing the group norm, you are saying “This is what every-one else is doing. By submitting the reports late, you are letting the team down”.
By following these seven steps, you’ll find launching a new initiative as easy as pie.
About the Author: Marie-Claire Ross is the Principal Consultant at Digicast Productions. If you want to learn more about launching a new initiative successfully download our free report "14 Tips to Launching a New Safety Initiative"
At Digicast, we provide workplace communication consultation services to ensure that our clients get the results that they need from new initiatives. Visit www.digicast.com.au to learn more.
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