Every company wants to be an innovator, but while few have the resources of multi-nationals dominating their marketplace, they do have something that no other company does – their employees.
“Quiet people have the loudest minds” – Steven Hawking
Regardless of responsibility, every employee has knowledge, insights, opinions, and innovative project ideas to share about their experiences with their job, products, and customers. The secret is in getting them to be confident, speak up, and share those ideas. Communicating even the smallest suggestion can hold big opportunities for the organization and their fellow employees.
And remember that while many employees will be full of ideas for new products and services, not every idea is tied to revenue generation. Most in-house employees will be full of untapped insights into improving the inner-workings of the organization too, including but not limited to…
- Customer trends, preferences, markets
- Inefficiencies in production, supply chains, sourcing
- Breakdowns in communication between departments, levels
But it’s not just about the “ideas”. It’s about the intrinsic value that comes from sharing them, hearing from others, and seeing them put into action. With a more willing attitude to share, employees will become more…
- Aware of their surroundings and fellow employees
- Engaged in what they’re doing and planning to do
- Motivated to share and make further improvements
So now that you know the REAL value of an employee’s feedback and ideas, how do you get them talking and sharing?
Ask the Right Questions
- Passively displaying a suggestion box is going to show you “care” but isn’t going to motivate anyone to do anything without a little direction. Imagine answering this question – “What do you want?” instead of “What perks would you like us to consider in the next 3 months?” Is it easier to generate an answer for the first or second question? Ask for the answers you want. Give context to the company’s goals, explain how an employee’s feedback could help everything reach that goal, and get people thinking about important topics.
Make Channels Available
- If employees don’t know what to do with their innovative project ideas, they probably won’t share them. Make it easy and accessible for them to share with online options or a structured “suggestion box” system. 59% of managers admit to missing valuable information every day, simply because they either misplaced it or never saw it to begin with. Ideas are being lost when they aren’t managed properly.
Is your company actually ready to Innovate? Check now!
- 86% of employees say a lack of collaboration is a culprit in their workplace failures, proving that one-way conversations aren’t the answer for quality ideas. Collaboration between employees, even in its most basic form, leads to further inspiration and improvement on innovative ideas, especially when employees can communicate across departmental and hierarchical barriers.
Provide honest Feedback
- Validation and feedback from co-workers is one thing, but employees really want to hear what other departments, management, executives, and customers think of their ideas. Even with sub-par submissions, basic feedback will motivate people to continue participating, and will only help improve their ideas and efforts they put forth to discover new ways to improve the organization.
Hand out Rewards
- For those with the most innovative project ideas (and even those without), recognition for their participation is crucial. 78% of employees say they’d work harder if their contributions were recognized, showing that even though employees may be dedicated to the company, getting something in return for their diligence and commitment to leadership and innovation can motivate them further and pay huge dividends in the long-run.
- Without a proper implementation strategy, ideas are worthless, and all efforts to promote ideation, sharing, and feedback could backfire on management due to their lack of commitment. Putting ideas to work shows real interest in your employees, and helps the company move forward and improve when ideas have serious potential.
How does your company promote the sharing of innovative project ideas?
Let us know below!