Learn how to retain talent by making idea sharing easy for employees, as well as find ways to inspire your teams and help them stay engaged while they’re on the job.
In today’s competitive market, it has become essential to retain top-performing employees who are a resource to any organization. However, more than half the people who begin a new job leave within the first 18 months.
Cost of turnover and employee churn is on the rise, with companies spending millions on replacing each key position, not including lost productivity and time spent filling vacant positions.
One of the best ways to engage new and existing employees is by promoting idea-sharing. Being aware of your vision as a business and making sure that every employee has a vested interest in that vision can go a long towards improving employee retention and loyalty.
With that said, this article will explore how companies employ techniques to foster positive work environments and promote idea sharing for employee retention.
What Is Idea-Sharing?
Idea sharing is a process that allows employees and employers to share creative ideas and suggestions using technology. Idea-sharing software facilitates collaboration between employees and employers to improve the company’s productivity and profitability.
When idea-sharing software is used, the idea or suggestion can be discussed digitally, which improves communication and creativity within the workplace.
In business, there are times when you need to come up with many ideas quickly. You can do this on your own, but it’s often more effective to gather a resource group and have them work together. The group dynamic leads to more ideas than anyone could have thought of on their own.
For example, if you want to create a new marketing campaign for your product, you can brainstorm with your team about how to best promote it. Or maybe you want to find new ways to improve your company culture.
In this case, you can gather your managers and ask them how they would make the workplace better for employees.
Why Idea Sharing Is Important
Employees feel appreciated: The idea-sharing process enables employees to share their ideas and opinions. This makes them feel like they are a part of the company, which increases their excitement about its goals and vision.
Employees feel more engaged: When employees can share their ideas, they will likely become more involved and more motivated to contribute more in the future. When an employee shares their idea with you, they’re excited.
They want to get it out there and hear what others have to say about it. By listening and encouraging them, you’re showing that you value their creativity and innovation.
Employees feel valued: When employees’ ideas are implemented, they feel valued because they know the management will improve the work environment. This makes them want to contribute even more because they feel like their voice matters.
Ideas can help solve problems: Let’s face it; there’s often no one better than your employees to come up with solutions for the issues your management faces daily.
They know what works, what doesn’t, and what might be worth trying. Moreover, since they’re in the trenches every day, they may even be able to recognize patterns that can help prevent future problems from happening in the first place.
What Should You Know About Idea Sharing for Employees
Idea-sharing is just one of the ways that you can encourage feedback. However, here are a few things you should note when encouraging them to share their ideas, such as:
- Employees might not feel comfortable sharing ideas with their co-workers.
This is especially true if they have been told that they cannot share ideas with other people in the company or outside of it.
- Some employees may feel as if they are being punished for not sharing their ideas with others.
In some cases, this is a result of a company culture that encourages team members to keep their ideas secret from each other and outside of the company’s four walls, for example, in an effort to promote teamwork or increase productivity.
- Some employees might not be sure how to express their ideas clearly and concisely enough to be heard by others within the organization.
This is especially true if they do not know how to use the software the management uses in idea-sharing.
- Employees typically have the best view of what’s working and what isn’t within an organization, so they should have an opportunity to share their ideas and have them heard.
However, an excellent idea isn’t enough to impact an organization if there’s no process in place to take advantage of it. It’s crucial to establish a systematic approach to gathering employee ideas and implementing them.
Best Practices for Idea-Sharing for Employees
Establishing Rules for Idea Sharing at Work
In highly competitive industries, it’s not unusual for staff to guard their ideas like gold. It’s essential that management set boundaries around what can and cannot be shared.
If you have a patent asset or intellectual property agreements that dictate this, make sure employees understand the details clearly. If you have no rules in place, establish them now.
Make sure your team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas without fear of someone stealing them or taking credit for their work.
No Barriers to Entry
Employees have one less reason not to share their ideas if they don’t have to jump through hoops. Make it simple and easy for members to submit ideas by providing access via mobile devices or email.
Good ideas can come from anywhere and often do. You can boost innovation by making sure human resources feel free to share their ideas across departments and functions at your company.
Don’t let arbitrary lines like “that’s not my job” stop an idea from spreading when it could benefit your entire operation.
You should always share submitted ideas with everyone and give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge every submission and offer a monetary reward or other incentives for implementing high-quality ideas. This will encourage your employees to keep contributing more creative ideas.
If employees know the status of their submitted ideas, they will be more likely to continue submitting more in the future.
Give your employees visibility into their own submission status, as well as the status of all other submissions in the system. Let them see what happens from ideation to implementation.
Encourage Employees to Share Ideas Frequently
Most employees want to contribute ideas to improve their company, but many don’t know how to do it. They assume that the idea process is too complex and that they’ll need to prove their idea’s value before anyone will listen.
The result? Companies miss out on valuable contributions from their employees. To help your staff overcome these barriers, create an idea process that is clear, simple, and accessible to everyone.
Encourage members to share ideas frequently. The more often staff members provide ideas, the more likely they’ll contribute helpful suggestions.
Make the submission process painless. Ask your team to submit their suggestions via text message or email rather than a lengthy form that takes hours to fill out.
When you ask questions, you help employees understand what you’re looking for in an idea. This allows them to submit ideas that are more likely to be accepted. For example, if you’re trying to increase sales and revenue, you might ask questions like:
- What products can we add or remove from our catalog?
- How can we improve our marketing strategy?
- What do customers complain about most? How can we solve that problem?
When employees know what kind of suggestions you’re looking for, they’ll be more likely to submit ideas. This will also ensure that the ideas you receive align with your organization’s goals.
Create a Safe Environment Where Employees Can Share
If you have an employee who knows if he shares his idea, it will get trashed or be ignored, the chances are that the employee won’t share their idea!
Instead, create a safe environment where employees can share without fear of punishment or ridicule from their peers or management.
Handle Bad Ideas Respectfully
Just as important as encouraging good ideas is respecting bad ones and telling the difference between the two.
If an idea isn’t going to work for your company, explain why you’ve decided not to go in that direction and thank the employee for taking time to think about solutions for your business.
Even if the idea wasn’t helpful at this point in time, it might be something worth revisiting down the line when conditions may be different.
Give People Space to Think About Problems on Their Own
The best way for employees to share new ideas is for them to have time to think deeply about the work they’re doing and how it can be improved without any pressure from managers or bosses.
That’s why you should give under your management a few weeks each year to take time off and focus on solving problems alone.
Create a Culture Where People Are Rewarded for Their Ideas
This may seem like an obvious one, but if you want employees to share their ideas with you, it’s vital that they feel safe doing so and have confidence in your feedback.
It would help if you encouraged people to come to you with ideas and make them feel valued for doing so. If someone gets shot down, they won’t come back with another great idea next week.
Make it clear that good and bad ideas are welcome. Many people are reluctant to share bad ideas because of fear of embarrassment or looking stupid.
However, bad ideas – when explored properly – can often lead to great ones, so encourage people to throw everything into the mix, both good and bad.
Use the Right Tools to Capture, Test, and Give Feedback
Set up a dedicated place for idea submission. This can be done using an app like IdeaScale or a simple Google Form. Whatever tool you choose, make sure it’s easy to find and use. Make certain important information like the deadline is clearly communicated.
Ask for context and background information along with the idea itself. The more details you have about an idea, the better positioned you’ll be to test it. Instead of just asking for an idea, ask them, “What problem are you trying to solve?” or “How would this make your job better?”
When running a business, you know that the best ideas can come from anywhere. Finding and implementing those ideas can be a significant challenge when running a business with hundreds or thousands of employees. That’s where idea management software comes in.
Idea management software is designed to help companies capture, test, and implement great ideas. It tends to be used by larger businesses, as they have more employees to find and vet ideas from. Still, there are important lessons for small businesses as well.
Follow up on every idea that gets submitted within 48 hours. This helps show that you value their input and will encourage them to continue sharing their ideas with you in the future.
Even if you don’t have time to test their ideas thoroughly, send them a quick note thanking them for submitting it and letting them know they can expect more feedback soon.
When employees submit an idea, provide constructive feedback so that they know where to improve next time. This will encourage them to keep innovating and trying new things, which will help the human resource department.
The bottom line is that if your business thrives on the innovation of its employees and boosts employee retention, then it is essential to create an environment where your employees feel motivated to share ideas
Overall, companies that utilize the idea-sharing tool for employee retention will likely see an improvement in both loyalty and morale. This is a win-win for everyone involved, as both companies and their employees become more invested in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Call to Action
Ideas and innovation are the foremost concern for retaining employees, but what happens when your employees are creative, and you can’t appreciate it? The solution is to create a space where ideas can be shared visibly. This allows staff to work, relax and play away from the office in a shared environment that encourages creativity.
So, make sure you create an environment that encourages idea-sharing among your employees and team members, not suppresses it.
Answers to the Questions
How can I share ideas with others? Whether online or one on one, brainstorming is a great way to come up and share new ideas.
How do you encourage people to share your ideas? By making the audience feel special and needed, they will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas.
Why do you share ideas? You share ideas because you think someone else can benefit from them or solve a problem.