Steps Leaders Should Take When Acting on Employee Ideas

young woman professional thinking with colorful abstract lines overhead

Here are a few ways organization leaders to take an employee idea from submission to pilot.                                                                          

Carter Liebscher|
March 9, 2020

Last week we touched on how employees can receive buy-in for their innovative ideas. Formulating an idea, appealing it to leadership based on their values, and framing it as a solution to current organizational issues are effective tips for employees to receive buy-in from management.

How, then, can leaders take the hard work and passion employees have shown and implement it throughout their organization? Below are a few recommendations for organization leaders to take an employee idea from submission to pilot.

Employees do this from the idea’s inception—it’s filtered by their role and responsibilities and their personal experiences—but it requires a little more research and insight from leaders.

Compare the proposed idea to previous, current, and planned innovation projects. Overlook the project specifics and examine whether they all accomplish the same goal. If they do (and if it’s financially feasible), then it’s time to move to the next step.

There’s no better way to better understand an employee’s idea and their intentions with it than meeting with them face-to-face. Sure, you’ll get a general idea when they present on their idea, but you’ll miss the nuances and quirks that give the idea its potential and intrigue.

If you like this post, you might like: “Intrapreneurship Versus Entrepreneurship: How to Encourage Employees to Innovate Within Your Company’s Walls”

Meeting with the innovator personally will not only help you understand the idea better and how they, from their departmental and personal vantage point, envision their idea, but also inspire them to act as a leader. They’ll continue to offer their insights for the rewards they reap, regardless of whether they’re intrinsic or extrinsic.

One of the most prevalent myths regarding employee creativity is that engagement is fueled only by financial rewards. It’s a fundamental human need to derive purpose from your work, and monetary incentives seem to inspire the same type of safe innovations that your company are trying to avoid.

Just as leaders follow leaders, employees follow employees. When the entirety of an organization’s frontlines witness a proposal from one of their peers, perhaps someone in their department, they’re likely to think, “If they can do it, so can I.”

That’s a powerful position for your employees to be in, as well as your organization as a whole: its bottom line, its reputation, and its employees’ happiness.

Even if, when implemented, it’s not an immediately obvious, wild success, you’ve set a valuable precedent in innovation for your organization.

Our partners, however, have met—and often exceeded—their innovation goals. With idea management software, there’s no more sifting through never ending Excel spreadsheets or email chains. Ideawake’s platform is easy-to-use and its features are engaging, with incentivizing gamification aspects.

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