You’re less inclined to buy a product when its creators don’t promote it; don’t extol its benefits; don’t include you at the center of its advertising. Why would employees want to engage with an innovation program that is similarly not promoted and doesn’t center them in the process?
Employee engagement has a notable impact on your bottom line—a difference of 21% profitability between engaged and disengaged workforces. Innovation too has an impact on profit and growth, with MIT Sloan Management Review finding a significant correlation between ideation rate and growth in profit.
With 2021 around the corner, your organization might be planning on investing in an ROI-positive innovation product. Perhaps you already have invested in an innovation solution and are looking to get even more engagement from it.
Whatever your scenario, promoting your innovation program is a necessity. Follow these few steps to ensure large-scale, cross-organizational engagement with—while receiving a positive ROI for—your innovation program.
Step 1: Prepare Consistent Messaging for Internal Materials
Before you start sending promotional materials out, you’ll need craft messaging that aligns your overall organizational mission with the goals of your innovation efforts.
Gathering representatives from all prospective stakeholders—leadership, department heads, frontline employees—and discovering their pain points is a solid first step in deciding the direction of your innovation efforts.
Once stakeholders are on the same page about the purpose of your innovation investment, leadership should effectively internalize and communicate those pain points in consistent messaging promoting the efforts, incentivizing employee engagement and buy-in.
The messaging doesn’t have to include every single pain point, but it should get at the essence of them all.
Step 2: Get Creative With Branding
Coming up with a name for your program seems like a fluffy step, but it can help set a precedent for future innovation efforts.
Including the purpose of the program in its nomenclature can get a great return on engagement, as employees are more likely to be creative if they see others are too.
In other words, if it’s obvious that a lot of work went into promoting the program, employees are likely to give work back.
Work with your PR and communications team to craft branded materials that are recognizably internal but different enough in design and, as mentioned above, in messaging, such that stakeholders sense something new to participate in.
Step 3: Utilize Both Online and Offline Methods
Simply put, diversifying promotional methods increases visibility.
Some online methods include e-newsletters, sent out either weekly or monthly; collaborating with your IT department to feature the program on your intranet; and pre-launch emails. Offline methods may include physical newsletter and slideshows shown on break room televisions.
Of course, given the current working environment, it might be more appropriate to focus solely on online promotional methods. Nonetheless, having offline methods in mind for when your office reopens its doors entirely will be only beneficial.
Step 4: Target Your Stakeholders
When it comes to sending out your promotional materials, return to the first step and recall which stakeholders you met with in the beginning.
It makes little sense to align your goals for your innovation program with stakeholders and not include them in your target employee audience.
Leadership might know what ideas those employees might share after the initial meeting, but it pays to get engagement influential employees to spur even greater engagement.
Even after deciding to buy an innovation solution over building one yourself, you won’t receive full ROI (and then some) without promoting it. Ensure high engagement and collect the high-quality, innovative ideas your employees most certainly have.