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5 companies generating employee ideas with Workplace by Facebook
Some of the world's biggest businesses are using Workplace by Facebook to harness employee ideas and develop a culture of innovation. This is how.
Change is the new norm. Facilitated by globalization and technological developments, its pace is increasing, and its power is growing.
When it comes to change, you want to be the one driving it, not fortifying against it or – even worse – ignoring it. Remember Blockbuster and Blackberry?
Who knows the changes your company needs to see better than the people working in it every single day?
Big or small, delightful or practical, employee ideas can bolster the foundations of your business, helping to generate new and improve existing products, services, processes and experiences.
When you start listening to employee ideas, it becomes about so much more than innovation – you can build a culture of collaboration and intrapreneurship, where every employee is empowered to share their ideas and feel that they have a genuine stake in the business.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Did you know?
82% of employees have ideas to improve their business. Source: State of Employee Ideas 2018.
But big businesses have been able to innovate, engage and survive change. Utilizing enterprise social networks and collaboration tools that employees know and love, they've been able to seamlessly embed innovation into their organizations.
It’s therefore no surprise that they wanted to unlock the value in their most valuable asset – their people.
Senior leadership recognized the incredible insight that their frontline, customer-facing colleagues could bring to company strategy.
Under the sponsorship of their CIO, Clay Johnson, Walmart set out to pilot ‘Value Makers', their first employee idea campaign. This campaign focused on generating new ideas on sustainability, employee productivity, and other specific topics.
Did you know?
Employee idea campaigns with leadership endorsement garner 30% more engagement on average.
With over 2 million employees dotted across the globe, many not at desks, giving every employee a voice that management could hear was not previously possible.
However, as the largest Workplace by Facebook integrated company in the world right now, Walmart knew where to find its employees.
They launched the ‘Value Makers’ dedicated group in Workplace by Facebook, and monitored closely for the duration of the 90-day campaign.
Innovation shouldn't be the preserve of specialist teams and departments. Be open to ideas from anywhere and anyone.
Employees across the firm contributed ideas, as well as liking and commenting on others. This open collaboration helped transform good ideas into great ones!
Crucially, senior leaders were amongst the contributors and collaborators, and this top-down engagement helped to lift both the campaign and its individual contributors. Walmart employees felt recognized and listened to and, despite the size of the company, a wonderful close-knit community was created.
The lasting impact
With over 200 ideas submitted, group participants used their ‘likes’ to vote on their favorites. This identified the five top ideas, of which three have been turned into tangible projects!
AstraZeneca’s mission is to provide life-changing medicines to patients in need. By 2025, they're aiming to not only double the number of medicines delivered, but also to double their revenue.
As part of this goal, the senior executive team wanted a way to flatten the organization, drive innovation, and put the future direction of the company in the hands of its employees.
Great things in business are never done by one person.
----- Steve Jobs -----
Taking full advantage of the creativity of its employees across 120 countries, they decided to augment their normal strategic process with a crowdsourcing event aimed at making every voice count.
The challenge was how to enable this level of strategic discussion on a scale that had never been seen before.
To achieve its ambitious goal, AstraZeneca needed something simple – a soap box from which each of its employees could share their ideas with the minimum of fuss.
Having recently implemented a new social strategy utilizing Workplace by Facebook and WeChat in Asia Pacific, the innovation team decided to use the collaboration tools already in place for the campaign. These tools would provide the perfect forums for employees to contribute and socialize their ideas.
Go social! Use social enterprise networks as a way of engaging employees across any device, location or time zone.
Utilizing existing platforms also meant that employees didn’t have to learn how to use a new tool, and no additional licenses from yet another vendor were required.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The AZ2025 campaign launched with a bang! A coordinated communications effort included roadshows, town halls and promotional videos by senior executives, ensuring everyone in the company knew about the initiative and how to get involved.
The campaign’s strong brand identity, built around the tagline ‘Think, Transform, Together’, was key to raising awareness and creating a buzz.
Getting senior leadership buy-in, ensuring they viewed the campaign as something important, was paramount to success.
----- Scott Wilkins, Enterprise Innovation Director @ AstraZeneca -----
Leadership champions were encouraged to stimulate discussion within individual Workplace and WeChat groups and review ideas.
From new starters to company veterans, all generations of AstraZeneca employees were inspired to be a part of the campaign and to shape the company’s future.
The lasting impact
The campaign was an open invitation to every employee to have their say. And they did just that.
Over the course of three weeks, 23,000 ideas (yep, you read that right!), comments and likes were contributed from employees in 70 countries, many of which will go on to influence what AstraZeneca looks like in years to come.
Collaboration and crowdsourcing are now very much part of AstraZeneca’s DNA, with sustainable crowdsourcing campaigns remaining an ongoing focus.
Constraints are a necessary condition for creativity to occur.
----- Drew Boyd -----
Coty were looking for ideas of a certain quality. But they knew that asking for too much information can risk reducing employee engagement. So they had to get creative.
Talk to the bot
When an employee wanted to submit an idea, they would start a conversation with Coty’s own idea chatbot in Workplace by Facebook.
This was one of the first times chatbots have been used in this way. The chatbot teased out all the details of the idea in a way that encouraged, rather than annoyed, employees.
Consider rewarding employees with the training and support they need to actually prototype their idea.
Once complete, the idea chatbot would post the fully detailed idea in the Up2Disrupt™ dedicated Workplace by Facebook group. Here, all employees and senior leaders could review and engage through comments and likes. The ability to tag experts in the comments helped ideas to quickly grow and develop.
300 ideas were sourced, and 3 finalists were invited to prototype their ideas, proving that Coty's campaign wasn't just about paying lip service!
The challenge lay in how to harness all of the potential creativity and brain power within this workforce and to incite company-wide innovation.
Think outside the pod
Softvision recently used Workplace by Facebook to host a company-wide innovation enterprise called the 'Innovation Pod Challenge'. Given that 94% of the company are active Workplace by Facebook users, this was the obvious approach for maximum engagement.
Did you know?
80% of collaboration efforts fail due to a lack of engagement. Source: Gartner
The purpose of this campaign was to encourage ‘Softvisioners’ to share new ideas around technology to benefit their clients.
Running the campaign through a dedicated Workplace by Facebook group, over 110 ideas were shared, with the top 13 ideas shortlisted.
Seeing the results
The idea owners pitched to the executive board and lead sales reps, and the top three which combined innovation, product insight and business change were brought to life!
So there you have it…
Big businesses can make the small ideas count. And if done right, there can be a lasting effect on company culture, making your business more innovative, resilient and transparent for your employees.
If you’re going to run an ideas campaign, you need to think about the why for your company.
There are countless benefits of having a ‘home for ideas’, where ideas from anywhere can land at anytime, and the culture of innovation is supported. Running some time-limited campaigns can also be hugely effective, however, especially if you are seeking ideas around a certain topic or question.
Did you know?
Great campaigns combine both art and science. The art is inspiring employees to participate, while the science lies in analyzing the data and bringing those ideas to life.
To find focus for your campaign, we recommend answering these questions:
What are the biggest challenges in your industry today?
Are there any current or predicted disruptions in your industry?
What do your employees care about, and what might be on their mind?
2. Create a dedicated community
Start a new Workplace by Facebook group, where you can either make it open for the whole organization to access, or close it and only invite select groups for innovation.
3. Brand for success
Make sure everyone knows about your campaign, get them excited with engaging branding, and empower them with senior stakeholder buy-in. This should be fun, so try to incorporate something unexpected (see how Avios inspired in an ingenious way)!
4. Measure, analyze and engage
Monitor and drive engagement, identifying top ideas and tagging employee experts to get their view and inspire more collaboration. Keep your employees up-to-date with the progress of their ideas.
Celebrate success! Once you know the impact of an idea, share the story loud and proud. You may just inspire the next wave of ideas!
5. Get started!
Change is the new norm. Big or small, delightful or practical – listen to ideas from your employees to bolster the foundations of your business and flourish.
After all, if the likes of Walmart are doing it, there must be something to it.
Idea management for Workplace by Facebook
Ignite ideas on Workplace by Facebook. Bring the best ones to life with Sideways 6.