The value of employees goes beyond their day-to-day job. Because they have a good insight into the company where they work, employees are perfectly positioned to come up with ideas that can revolutionize an organization.However, not all business leaders walk the talk and encourage their staff members to come up with novel ways to make changes to the company. Many cite time constraints and are losing out on an important resource that can really make a difference to the brand.
Further, employees who are encouraged to share ideas tend to enjoy higher levels or engagement, which in turn makes them better employees. Especially at a time when employee engagement is low, organizations need to take every stem possible to ensure their workers are engaged.
According to Michael Roy, vice president of strategy and advisor relations at FirstSource, one way of doing this is to encourage employees to come up with ideas and create a structure that facilitates this process. As Roy notes, crowdsourcing is "one of the greatest untapped resources" that can impact the customer experience. Roy shares the following tips for a winning crowdsourcing strategy:
1. Include a diverse audience: As Roy notes, the power of crowdsourcing lies in its ability to systematically engage a varied group of people who are all addressing the same issue. Organizations should consider forming employee groups made up of different staff members who can share ideas.
2. Provide a clear purpose: When a crowdsourcing effort is a formalized one, organizations should provide a specific challenge that the team should focus on. Roy notes that an explicit purpose would provide "a catalyst, a community, and an outlet to unlock untapped innovation."
3. Motivate participation: Employees are normally keen to share their ideas and take part in new initiatives, but business leaders need to make sure that they are encouraging this participation. Roy notes that companies with the highest participation rates tend to be ones which encourage employees to contribute. He recommends that business leaders identify how the improvements will impact staff and then highlight the findings to get additional buy-in.
4. Spare the time for innovation: While most employees are willing to help bring forward improvements, many times organizations don't give them the time to work towards innovation. Roy stresses the importance of giving employees not only time, but also the freedom of thought and action.
5. Don't throw out ideas: In order to be truly innovative, companies need to embrace a culture which accepts that some ideas fail and doesn't punish employees for ideas that don't make it to fruition. Roy notes that censorship can lead to a good idea being stunted.