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The Employee Engagement Equation for Idea Management Programs

Measuring employee engagement on your idea management program can be one of the most difficult things to accomplish (aside for employee engagement ROI). In order to do it, you need to consider the engagement equation.

The engagement equation has two key components:

  1. The employees must be engaged.
  2. The leaders must be engaged.
The employee engagement equation has two key components: The employees and the leaders must both be engaged.

Seems simple enough but let’s take a deeper dive into these two parts of the equation.

What does it take for an employee to be engaged?

Employees are engaged when:

  1. Employees are actively participating in your idea program
    Depending on which idea management platform you are using, some will be more likely for employees to use regularly and some may require a steeper learning curve to master. At SoapBox, a frictionless user interface means that it is easy for employees to participate by adding ideas, voting, and commenting upon them.
  2. The topic of conversation is relevant
    As a leader, you want to make sure that the topic of conversation is relevant to the business. Engaged employees are not only sharing ideas, but sharing ideas that matter. They ultimately provide business value when implemented.

What does it mean for a leader to be engaged?

It means that:

  1. Your innovation partners (see the minimum viable governance structure for more details) are actively responding to top ideas
    An engaged leader is actively communicating back to the employee with official responses. This shows employees that the ideas are being looked at and they also know what is happening to their ideas. The more support an idea gets, the more urgent the need to respond to the community, because clearly the idea impacts many employees.
  2. Ideas are being implemented
    Engaged leaders are not only constantly looking for great ideas, they are also pushing ideas forward to make sure that they get implemented. After all, an idea is just an idea until it becomes implemented.

Employee Engagement in an Idea Program: What to Measure

1. Activity

At Soapbox, our Client Success Team reviews these key metrics at every check in as well as benchmarking numbers to their industry.

For activity, we look at:

  • The total number of users
  • Adoption
  • Active users in the last seven days
  • Average time on site
  • Average pages visited per log in
  • Total number of ideas, votes and comments

Some of these numbers may be more challenging to get depending on what kind of idea software you are using, but this is a great starting place to monitoring the activity on your idea program.

2. Topic of Conversation

In SoapBox we have a word cloud that shows which topics are trending in the idea program. We also take a look at the trending topics on “newest ideas on SoapBox” and the trends in the most supported ideas. Using our model for understanding the scope of conversation, we ensure that idea programs are generating a steady pipeline of highly relevant ideas.

Leader Engagement in an Idea Program: What to Measure

1. Innovation Partners Are Communicating

Here are some of the key metrics that our Client Success Team uses to track communication from leaders to employees:

  • Total Responses
  • Response Rate
  • Touchpoints created (at Soapbox, touchpoints are the interactions that result from an official response)
  • Assigned Ideas (ideas that have been assigned to the right manager for evaluation and implementation)
  • Top Ideas that not been responded to

2. Ideas Are Implemented

In order to monitor ideas that are in the process of being implemented, use this simple flow chart to ensure that you have a healthy number of ideas in the pipeline:

Ensure that you have a healthy number of ideas from employee engagement in the pipeline

Though not always easy, if you follow the simple engagement equation through, you can accurately measure engagement in your idea program. Once you do, you can better assess how things are going and take the necessary steps to correct and improve things with it as you go along.

Harness the power of employee ideas.