Adoption is one of the most important metrics to measure in an idea program (download our free metrics template here), because it shows how many employees are actually participating in the program. But measuring adoption is just the first step—then you need to figure out how to increase it. This can be challenging particularly at the beginning of the program.
As such, here is a list of eight things you can do to drive adoption for your idea program:
1) Use existing communications to boost awareness
In the minimum viable governance structure of your innovation team, a communications role is essential, because that person will spread awareness about your innovation initiative. The logic behind this is quite simple: if employees do not know about your program, they will not use it.
Some simple ways to spread awareness can be as easy as sending out an email blast to the entire company. But beyond this, we have seen many of our clients compliment emails with posters to help keep engagement at top of mind for employees. Another channel that is simple, yet extremely effective is to add a slide about the program into your communications deck that is used across your organization.
2) Get the Help of Champions
Champions can significantly improve adoption. Champions are influencers within the organization that are respected by their peers. Just like how viral content could never be viral without the initial excitement propelled by early adopters who shared it, your innovation program needs Champions to drive engagement by spreading excitement and awareness of the program.
This McKinsey article does a great job of explaining how to identify influencers.
3) Use Newsletters
Across all of our clients, we see that days in which email newsletters are sent out show a significant jump in engagement. Email newsletters are a key driver of engagement and an effective way to communicate the results of your idea program. Employees respond well to responses from leaders to top ideas and ideas that are driving change in the organization. Of course, always include at least one call-to-action that directs employees back to your idea management software. Our blog post on best times to send emails can help you optimize the performance of your newsletters.
4) Respond to Ideas
Leaders can do their part to help drive adoption by responding to ideas. We benchmark that 25 percent of ideas should be responded to in our key metrics when evaluating the health of the community. Responding back to the community is the first step for leaders to drive engagement.
5) Host a Town Hall
Show, not tell. Town halls are an effective way to show how your idea program works and reinforce its purpose. If your workforce is dispersed across a large geographical location or have limited access to their mobile devices or computers, locate central hubs that employees can gather in like facilities or branches, and host a pizza lunch or something similar.
6) Celebrate Successes
Nothing drives engagement like success. So, you need to make sure your employees hear about ideas that have been implemented. You can use your newsletters to share successes or your company intranet. Remember to show how the idea improves the way employees work and always remember to ask for more ideas every step of the way.
7) Recognize Contributors
Recognition is a great way to engage employees and show that you appreciate their ideas. For more details and ideas on recognition, see here.
8) Get Buy in from Middle Managers
Recent research shows that middle managers have the greatest impact on their direct reports. As such, getting buy in from these managers is the key to ensuring that you reach even the most junior or remote employee in your organization.
I hope that these tips can help drive the adoption of your innovation program. Don’t forget to download our Engaged Innovation Metrics Template to help you measure the other 7 essential performance indicators of your innovation program.