The past decade has brought a wave of collaborative solutions to organizations worldwide. Open office concepts with fewer barriers and enclosed areas are embraced and encouraged. Progressive meeting styles, such as standing cross-functional meetings, have become the ideal. Social software like SalesForce, Chatter, Yammer, and Slack are taking over workplaces.
If you were to sit in during one of the many leadership meetings held throughout the year in almost any organization, one key topic that you would undoubtedly hear time again is “employee engagement.” Plenty has been written about the topic, and we have all heard just how great it is and how costly disengagement can be. Organizations are aware that, at best, only one-third of their current employees are engaged and that they could be doing more.
Measuring the adoption of your idea program is a great way to track the employee engagement levels of the program. But looking at adoption at a macroscopic level can cause us to overlook areas of improvement that can significantly increase adoption across the organization on the whole.
In the SoapBox governance structure, big businesses will likely have two tiers of innovation partners like this diagram below (read more about it in this article).
We recommend having an innovation partner from every functional unity to increase communication and collaboration between departments. At the same time, we recommend having innovation partners from every department that can check the health and engagement of each department.
It is important to have employees contribute from every department to ensure that:
- All departments contribute to the culture of innovation.
- Employees understand that ideas are expected from every department.
- Ideas are impacting every part of the business.
So, how can you ensure that everyone is contributing?
1. Identify Functional Units with Lower Engagement
For each functional unit, determine the % adoption, total ideas, comments, and votes. With this information, you now have a better sense of how engaged each department is and which departments need more work.
2. Look for Ideas That You Can Celebrate
- Ideas that you would like see from the community. Those ideas serve as great role models and inspiration for other employees.
- Ideas that are about to be implemented or have been completed. These ideas show that leaders are listening to employees and value their ideas.
- Ideas that impact employees or are submitted by their peers. You want to employees that their peers are participating in the innovation and that ideas directly impact the way they work.
You can use this idea tracker template to help.
We suggest using an email newsletter to celebrate those ideas and reach all of the employees in the department.
3. Push Ideas Forward
Engage leaders by identifying ideas that can be implemented, brainstorming alternative solutions to ideas that have been submitted, and sorting out who else needs to be involved to execute an idea. This is important in keeping the program active and moving forward, showing employees that you are serious about implementing good ideas, while at the same time, ensuring your business can reap the benefits of the ideation.
Seeking some quick inspiration for innovation? Here at SoapBox, we’re advocates of sitting down to read and in our spare time, we’ve come across some great reads for innovation.
At SoapBox, when selling to large enterprise clients, at some point IT needs to be brought in to the conversation.
Our approach with SoapBox has always been to “go where the traffic already is,” to seamlessly integrate with the existing habits and tools of our users.
In the last few years, one of those places is the social enterprise platform Yammer.
Creating a culture of accountability is not just about the individual. It is also about the team and acknowledging that your actions affect other team members’ abilities to accomplish their goals. For high-performing teams, accountability is a key ingredient.
In a previous blog post, we outlined the pros and cons of using rewards or recognition to drive employee engagement and recognition.
At SoapBox, we believe in showing the numbers. Every sales and marketing team member has their own whiteboard to track their key metrics and display them for everyone to see.
In Lean management philosophy, performing a Genba (also known as Gemba) walk is essential for managers to achieve the highest quality process improvement. The main concept behind the Genba walk is that problems, inefficiencies, and disconnects can be seen right where value is created. If managers physically observe the process, they can directly see the impact of processes and the changes that need to be made.
If you are a business leader looking to innovate, one thing to keep in mind from the start is that your ideas are only as impactful as they are timely. Speed of innovation matters. Small and medium-sized businesses can compete with the most innovative companies when they generate, evaluate, and act on ideas quickly. Successful innovators aim to deliver and implement their innovations when stakeholders need or want them the most, often before their competitors.
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