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Idea Program 101: 4 Topics for Your Framing Statement

We’ve recently posted a guide to creating a framing statement (for more theory, read this post on framing the topic of conversation that goes more in-depth into the theory behind Framing Statements). Now, equipped with the theory and structure behind creating your framing statement, we have four great framing statement topics for your employee idea program along with examples that really work.

Look Internally

Looking for framing statement topics? Look internallyLeverage your framing statement within your organization by focusing on processes and operational efficiencies. Frontline employees have incredible insight for simple yet effective ways to improve everyday operations which, cumulatively, can result in significant cost savings as well as improved productivity.

Another key benefit of focusing internally is that it is the channel to enable your employees to maximize their own capabilities by giving them a place to communicate key barriers to their everyday work processes.

Here’s one example to frame your statement on internal processes:

One of the strategic objectives for 2015 is to decrease waste and consumption. What are your ideas on how to improve our processes to use fewer resources and produce less waste?

Why This Statement is great

In this statement, we have aligned the topic to the strategic goals of the organization (being more green) while also focusing on what the organization can do internally to achieve this goal.

Aligning to strategic goals helps employees understand why you are looking for these types of ideas. The second part of this statement specifies a call-to-action for employees to submit ideas related to the topic which will help improve engagement in your program. Lastly, the statement is framed narrowly enough to inspire conversation while also giving employees room to build on each other’s ideas.

Optimize for Customers

In our Service Profit Chain blog post, we showed how engaging employees results in more satisfied customers. This is because employees on the frontlines are directly interacting with customers and can greatly influence that experience. It comes as no surprise, then, that frontline employees can provide valuable ideas on how to improve interactions with customers and improve the overall experience.

Here is one example on how to frame your statement around customers.

As more and more customers shop through our website and mobile app, we want to make sure that we provide exceptional service whether it is in-store or online. We want your ideas on how to improve customer experience through our app or on our website.

Why This Statement is Great

This statement works because it boils down overarching strategic goals like generating revenue into practical and relevant terms that are accessible to employees stretching from frontlines to the managers.

While most employees understand that revenue generation is important, this message can get lost as revenue goals trickle down to different levels within the organization. From here, these goals are then often translated into action items that pertain to specific departments and roles — which is where the target can get a bit fuzzy.

This topic is a winner because it is broad enough so that everyone can contribute, as everyone has shopped online or through an app.

Look Outside of Current Markets

Looking for framing statements? Look outsideWhether looking internally or focusing on customers, the types of ideas will likely be more incremental and smaller. For more transformative or disruptive ideas, try topics that address the flow of the markets and look for new opportunities.

Encouraging employees to take a Blue Oceans approach can be key to discovering how you can use existing products in new industries or create new products that disrupt existing markets.

One important thing to remember is that if you ask for these types of ideas then you must also be prepared to act on them. While some may be relatively easy to execute, others will require cross-functional collaboration or require investment of resources and time. Ensure that you have the support from leadership to pursue these ideas and provide the resources needed to turn these ideas into real business value.

One way to ensure that your ideas portfolio is balanced is by using innovation challenges. These allow you to work on one winning idea that is supported by the community.

Here is one example on how to frame your statement around the flow of markets:

You are our most valuable resource to remain competitive in our changing markets. What are your big ideas on how we can use our existing capabilities to find new opportunities in the market?

Why This Statement is Great

This statement is awesome for two key reasons.

First, the statement starts off by recognizing that employees are the key to success. This shows that you not only know that every employee has valuable ideas, it also demonstrates that you recognize and want to hear their ideas.

Secondly, you opened up a conversation allowing different types of ideas that can achieve what you’re looking for — new opportunities in the market.

Remember when framing the topic of conversation post that the wider the “guardrails” (or scope) of the conversation the more variety of ideas will appear. In the first three framing statements you want to target specific goals and objectives, and this requires narrowing the topic of conversation.

However, in this final example, you are looking for big ideas and as such you have to widen the guardrails on the conversation.

For more on framing statements, check out our eBook, The Goal Setting Guide for Employee Idea Programs!

Harness the power of employee ideas.

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