This article is part of the Path of Employee Feedback based on my Hierarchy of Employee Needs and related to my previous article “Hired Brains: Benefits of Maximizing Your Employee’s Ideas”. As we continue the journey down the Hired Brains series, we talk about the top ways to maximize the collection of your employee’s ideas.
The top ways to maximize the collection of your employee’s ideas are to have an idea time at all meetings, create a brainstorming group, set up permanent project teams, allow for individual creative projects, and offer merit pay increases.
To get more details on these read below!
Schedule some idea time at all meetings. Never turned down any ideas, write all ideas down and keep them available for the next meeting to discuss again. It may take weeks, months, or years of thinking before a good idea is accepted or viable so keep reviewing them.
If an idea is not perfect use the “Yes and” method for idea development. Agree with the idea then add to it. Example: “Yes, I like that idea and we should make this simple addition.”
Monthly or quarterly have a half or full-day brainstorming group meeting. Invite all team members or the whole organization. This is a no-holds-barred brain dump!
Get creative with how you will generate and record all the ideas. I like rolling out a large piece of brown construction paper on each table or on the floor in the middle of a large room. Let your team use colourful markers to write their own ideas down.
Have the team pick the top 5-10 ideas for further brainstorming. Split the attendees into groups for each idea. Allow them to flush out the ideas even more. Vote again and consider the top idea as something to work on this quarter.
You can always bring back top ideas to brainstorm more at the next brainstorming group meeting
Organize an ongoing team of top performers that work on new ideas. In this case, a top performer is anyone that has proven to have great ideas and is excited. Some people will not want to be part of this group as it may mean extra work above their own daily tasks.
If you have quarterly brainstorming group meetings already then maybe this project team is where the ideas get developed into something workable.
Individual Creative Projects
Some people do not like working in a team so allowing ongoing or one-time individual projects can help. I remember hearing that Google allowed these types of projects and allowed time to work on them. This corner of the desk projects can have a positive impact on the performance of the organization.
Introverted individuals may have a lot of ideas they are scared to talk about in a group. Have them report their projects to their supervisors or maybe your organization has a special projects manager.
Merit Pay Increases
Employees that participate and have great ideas for projects are valuable to the organization. Especially if they create or completed a project that generates cost savings or more revenue. Imagine having a new system, process, or technology breakthrough every quarter!
These top performers deserve to get compensated for their contributions to the future success of the organization. This is a great place to give merit pay increases that is permanent. One-time bonuses and perks might be nice but not as valuable to the employee that has real-life responsibilities.
Implement some of these ideas! Start with one, don’t go crazy and implement them all. I recommend implementing the merit pay increase and one other idea. This way your employees know you mean business about innovation, growth, and advancements when you put your money where your mouth is.