Posted by: eliz_beth | April 29, 2011

Loss in the Social CRM world

I love the promise that chatter brings to our group. It has been slow to get my field guys interested- they are still thinking in their silos and honestly, most are pretty old school when it comes to using technology. So I encourage them and look for ways to increase adoption in passive ways for now.

When I started rolling out chatter, I had the same concerns as other admins– how to handle disruptive chatter, what would I do if someone is inappropriate on chatter, honestly I don’t have all the answers here because it is going to depend on your policies and practices in your company. What is good for one is not accepted in another…

What I would like to discuss with you is one area that no one I’ve talked to has been prepared for and share with you what hindsight has given me as to how I wish we had done it.

Last fall one of our field sales managers was killed along with his wife in a motorcycle accident. It was a difficult time for our team as he was very well liked and left behind 2 children at home. We’re in the south where people tend to visit and bring food when a death occurs, a tricky situation when you’re a few hundred miles away. In addition, not everyone could go to the funeral as it took place in his hometown so for many there wasn’t the closure that funerals and such provide.

We’re all adults here, so we dealt with Jimmy’s passing in our own ways. As work picked up again I was considering what we could have done using Salesforce to help each other and possibly provide something to the family. As that was going through my head, it came to my attention that Jimmy was still “living” in our Salesforce instance. For example, his information came up in searches, accounts et al could be transferred to him, but the most hurtful seemed to be when he would show up as a following suggestion. (Not everyone follows everyone else by default)

I had prepared for inappropriate behavior, I had planned for terminations, and planned to get new hires on board as quickly as possible. I had never planned on how to react at the loss of an employee.

My tentative plan for now is in the event of a death, if not naturally begun, I’ll start a chatter thread on the person’s profile. Here anyone can share a story or sympathy regarding the employee with the idea after a while it will be printed and distributed to the family (if appropriate). Additionally, I’ll inactivate the user as quickly as possible without causing system issues to avoid the “follow suggestions” situation. Then follow with my standard steps used when someone is being removed from our instance for any reason.

Every company is different and every employee will process loss in different ways. As the SFDC admin who is one of the drivers of more collaboration and communication, I feel it is also our responsibility to assist our users by giving them the place to come to during this time as well. You can also provide additional information to all as to where donations/flowers/cards can be sent, funeral/visitation schedules, and other significant details.

I wish I had done this for Jimmy’s kids really, they would have been able to receive insight into an aspect of their dad most kids never really know.

Just something to consider while you are building your strategies and processes. Work has become more personal in the last few years even over great distances, we have to be prepared for all eventualities.

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