I occasionally take part in an online Twitter chat called Learn Chat, otherwise know in the Twitterverse as #lrnchat. This was my introduction to hashtags as a value-added tool. Like all tools, it can be mis-used (#bestboyfriendever, #mycarsucksbutnotasmuchasyours, #myomlettehastoomanymushrooms, etc) but when use properly, it can have tremendous value.
I was having trouble as a new trainer in the mortgage banking scene. The current trainers on the team all had experience in the industry and collected their own knowledge base over time. That time could be as much as 10 years so I had a lot of catching up to do. I could learn the materials that we had for the classes but when a customer question took me off of the script, I had a hell of time providing an answer without sounding like a jack-ass and you can only say “I’ll tell you later” so many times. I knew a lot of these questions came up in other classes but no one really kept track of the questions in their sessions of when they did they would email them out later. I wanted to come up with a system that new trainers could take advantage of. One that would allow them to get a good idea of what questions came up in classes so they would be better prepared.
Initially I wanted to create some sort of wiki page for each class (which I think had some potential) but it was presenting a few too many challenges. We use SalesForce as a customer relationship management system but we also use it’s microsharing tool, as well. I spoke to one of the managers who administrates it and he reminded me of the Topics function, which works almost identically to hashtags in Twitter. The user types their post or status updates and includes a #[topic] (written like that) so that anyone following that topic, or searching for it later, can find it.
I talked to the powers that be and we came it with a labeling scheme for each class (piggy-backing off already founded label) and decided to post on our private internat page. These posts would consists of the class label, the question, the answer and where it was sourced.
This worked really well! For me…The trouble that I found was getting people to use tools they don’t see an immediate value in. Most other trainers know the answers to the questions so aside from referencing the ‘greater good’, it seems to be a tough sell for an intangible benefit to them. But this wasn’t just for my benefit, it was for the benefit of all new trainers who might not have such a depth of knowledge.
So how do you motivate people? That’s a bloody good questions that I don’t have an answer for yet, but I’ll let you know once I get it figured out.