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5 Steps You Can Implement to Encourage Idea Sharing At Work
Idea sharing is the process of collaborating and brainstorming with others about a topic or regarding a shared problem. In the workplace it can be about developing new policies or working to improve old ones.You need to get the most benefit possible out of the talent you hire, and one way of doing this is to take advantage of employee knowledge by encouraging employees to share ideas.
Create an atmosphere that encourages them to collaborate (when practical, of course), make suggestions, and provide feedback. You might hit upon a great idea for your business. Even more importantly, you will improve the work atmosphere.
Employees who feel that they – and their ideas – are valued are more productive and less likely to search for other jobs. This means less turnover, fewer headaches, and reduced costs.
Work Culture and Feedback
The easiest way to encourage feedback is simply to make it clear that it is acceptable. It isn’t necessary to have an excessively informal, small, or open environment for this to be true.
Foster open channels of communication and a collaborative company culture by simply letting new and current employees know they should feel free to share ideas for projects or improvements with management.
Obviously, if company actions speak against this – managers are hostile, ideas received are never mentioned again – then a successful environment for idea sharing hasn’t been created.
Don’t Limit Feedback and Idea Sharing Opportunities
Don’t restrict feedback and idea sharing to performance reviews and meetings. Employees might feel discouraged for multiple reasons – fear of ridicule, fear of annoying others by being off-topic, the desire to get away from a boring or stressful session, you name it.
Encourage managers and coworkers to share ideas and collaborate on day-to-day activities. This is impractical for some roles. In these cases, you will need to provide other opportunities for feedback.
Create Multiple Avenues
Don’t rely on employee reviews or old-time suggestion boxes alone. Create multiple avenues for employees to provide feedback and ideas.
Simple and direct methods include online systems, suggestion boxes, and feedback or brain-storming sessions. The real challenge is creating an environment where employees actually feel that they can and should contribute.
Reward Good Ideas, but Don’t Punish Bad Ones
It is true that some companies offer small monetary rewards to employees with great suggestions. Of course, a very big idea that becomes an employee’s project might result in a more substantial award, like an actual raise.
If you don’t or can’t subscribe to the actual-reward idea, make sure that your employees feel acknowledged for sharing their ideas. To do this, it’s important that employees also feel recognized for good work in general.
Similarly, don’t mock ideas or downgrade employees for giving you negative feedback or making poor suggestions. This is obviously separate from behavior that makes employees difficult to work with and situations where they don’t share goals.
Offer Anonymous Opportunities
While the best employees will likely be ready to share their ideas for improvement, some suggestions or feedback will make them hesitate.
Encouraging idea sharing and feedback can help you discover problems before they become too severe. If you have true talent on your hands, you will likely be able to get ideas for new innovations as well.
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