Level Up your Users

07-22-2019
MinistryPlatform

Some departments care for children and are up to their ears in Goldfish crackers and popsicle sticks. Others have weekly rehearsals and transpose charts. You? You have it easy. You merely serve the staff by ensuring their ministry tools are in place, and, oh yeah, you get to train them on them, too.

Easy, right? Psha!

Not to mention navigating all the different personalities, learning styles, departmental cycles and seasons, skill levels, temperaments, and various work hours and shifts. Some days the thought of Elmer’s glue in your hair and refusing yet another well-meaning kind-hearted volunteer a choir robe sounds reaaaalllly good.

But before you put in for that departmental transfer:
Breath.
And read on.

With a few of these tools in your toolbelt, you can help your users up their MP game.

Know Your Team

If you don’t know your team and their current skills, how can you grow them?

Find out what they like.
How are they encouraged? Try to ascertain love languages. When you start to speak their language, they listen with different ears.

What are their stressors?
The beginning of summer may not be the best time for a full day mandatory training. Are they experiencing issues at home or going through a personal trauma? Probably not the best time for them to be learning a new thing and may require extra sensitivity.

What are their strengths?
One person may be super organized but easily frazzled. Another may seem like a constant stream of disarray, but great under pressure. Utilize both appropriately and help both manage their weaknesses.

How do they learn?
Remember that they may not learn like you! To minister to all learning types, provide something to see, hear and do! Trust them as you get to know how they learn, even if it’s not how you do it. Learning style quiz resource

 Use Your Cheat Codes (Know your System)

Your system and work environment will tell you plenty about how your users are doing … if you pay attention to the clues.

Audit Logs
When you catch bad data – check the Audit Log for who did it and when. Is it global? Address it in a group meeting. Consider clarifying Procedures or searching for a simpler solution. Is it individual? Go to that person. Do you need explain things in a new way? Will they work better if you provide a checklist with pictures? If it is a MAJOR DATA ISSUE - go to them immediately and if it happens again consider removing rights.

Lagging data entry
Do people have stacks of roll sheets on their desks? Are you noticing that forms are hanging around? Are Responses staying open even though people have called? It could be that administering all 94 of the summer camps fell into the lap of the 15-hour-a-week intern. Or… are they stalled because they’ve forgotten how to do something or are stymied by inefficiency?

Group Management
Keep an eye on your groups! Use the group stats view to see which ones are out of date. Is there a pattern?

What is their strategy?

Views vs. Selections
There are many ways to do things in MP. While we should always encourage efficiency, be open and knowledgeable. For instance, some people will be comfortable creating a quick view to find results. Others may start with a basic view and want to use the trim selection tool.

Why, Why, Why?
Some users want to know the “why” and all the other ways to perform the same function. If they can handle this, give it to them with the pros and cons of each. If there is only one way, explain why and show them. Explain how what they are doing connects to other things. These are often the users who will quickly become your MP Experts.

How! Just the How!
Other users simply want to know “how.” Give them the steps and they will follow them. Sometimes this is due to how they’re wired, but other times may be prompted by stress, These people are often the ones who are going to follow the steps correctly EVERY time and are the ones who often get a lot done!

Training

Open Console (Office Hours)
Make it obvious when you are in the office. Post your hours or share your calendar with blocked off times for drop-ins. Encourage user to come by unannounced when they have a question. And then, be sure you welcome them and give them your undivided attention.

Pick up style
Get up and walk around. When you meet users on their turf, they will tell you more about their concerns and challenges. It helps them remember that “random thing.” And it makes you available. (It also gives you a glimpse into their work environment where you can pick up on more clues that will help you understand them better.)

Planned Gaming
Make appointments available. Some people will simply feel better having a set time on their calendar to bring you their questions.

Pay attention to these three groups and be sure to schedule 1-on-1 time with them:

  • New Users – have a set of training to go through;
  • Those who are excelling – brainstorm new and improved ways to move forward
  • Those who are struggling – reinforce group training and just be with them as they try new things

Multiplayer (Group Training)
Have recurring training available. Some churches will even make this mandatory! If leadership seems hesitant to let their admins “get away” for an hour or to for training, help pave the way for them to attend.

Bring Food!
Providing food, whether muffins or a meal, changes the dynamic and makes people feel appreciated. You get bonus points for making the treats yourself.

Provide a data collection source
This could be a personal binder/folder for each person, or a digital user guide, or a regular email that goes out with videos and how-to’s.

Plan the topics
What are your users struggling with? Group management or event registration? What repeating questions or issues do you see.

New Procedures and Features. Are you about to launch something new or a revised way of doing things? Is there an exciting new feature in a new or upcoming release? Make sure to write out the how-to’s and then demonstrate in your group training.

Back to Basics:

  • Groups - managing, add/editing, how they connect to other parts
  • Events - managing, add/editing, tracking attendance
  • Participants - Reporting, viewing, reminder of all sub-pages
  • Reporting - Group reports, participant reports, contact overview (summary) reports
  • Views - Using them, creating them
  • Selections - Transfer selection, trim selection

Bonus Skills
Some of your uses struggle with technology in general. When you help them with the basics, you’re not only going to make your life easier, but you are increasing their capabilities that they can hopefully use for the Kingdom! Be willing to teach other tech skills, such as:

  • Basic computing/navigating
  • MS Word & MS Excel
  • Basic browser tips and tricks