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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.
Did you know?
82% of employees have ideas to improve their business. Source: State of Employee Ideas 2018.
When you start listening to employee ideas, it becomes about so much more than innovation – you can build a culture of collaboration, 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?
The problem is, in big businesses, there are often existing processes in place that can limit responsiveness to change, with agility and lean processes being more commonly associated with start-ups.
Businesses often feel as though they have to roll out new tools to support idea management, which inevitably presents itself as yet another app that employees have to download and use.
Did you know?
The average employee switches between 35 work-based applications over 1,100 times a day. Source -Pegasystems Inc.
But big businesses have been able to innovate, engage and survive change. Utilizing the enterprise social networks and collaboration tools that employees know and love (i.e. Workplace by Meta), they've been able to seamlessly embed innovation into their organizations.
You don't need more tools.
You need your tools to do more.
----- Chris Sheen, CMO at Sideways 6 -----
We've collated some of the best examples of how companies have tapped into the collective insight of their employees using Workplace from Meta. If you think you should be on this list, let us know!
For several years Nestlé had run their internal accelerator program - InGenius - using a standalone idea management application.
However, with the rapid adoption of Workplace from Meta as the company's internal communications tool, Nestlé saw an opportunity to open up innovation to the entire organization.
The InGenius team sought to discover and develop budding intrapreneurs within the business, wherever they might be located.
No matter who you are or what you do, if you are passionate you can submit an idea. InGenius is a way to allow our employees to find a voice and a platform for their ideas.
----- Nick De Blasio - Employee Innovation at Nestlé -----
To scale the programme to a global audience, Nestlé decided to leverage their recently rolled out Workplace platform that was already connecting 120,000 employees. This offered a great place to reach people and open up dialogues around innovation.
To leverage Workplace as a platform for employee ideas, InGenius partnered with Sideways 6. Employees worldwide could simply share their ideas on Workplace, whilst Sideways 6 acted as the management layer allowing the InGenius team to categorize and shortlist the top ideas.
This new way of collecting ideas from Workplace proved invaluable for a company as large as Nestlé to quickly and effectively engage as many employees as possible.
Engagement is the biggest hurdle of successful employee ideas programmes. If there's just one area you focus on, make it this!
By taking an integrated approach, Nestlé managed to increase employee engagement by over 90%. A far greater number of employees were able to respond and comment on ideas, helping to build networks, refine the ideas, and create greater exposure for innovation campaigns.
So far, 4,800 ideas have been shared, and 67 projects have been funded across the world. In one way or another, 63,000 employees have interacted with the initiative - enough to fill a football stadium!
The success of InGenius is evident in the stories and innovations that have evolved from the initiative. From reusable dispensers for cat food and coffee to help Nestlé towards its sustainability goals (video above) to teething sticks for infants and even Korean KitKats.
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 from Meta integrated company in the world right now, Walmart knew where to find its employees.
They launched the ‘Value Makers’ dedicated group in Workplace from Meta, 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.
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!
Physically speaking, you can’t get tens of thousands of employees into your board room. Undeterred, AstraZeneca – a leading pharmaceutical company – found another way to hear them.
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 from Meta 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 collaborate around 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.
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 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.
Telenor is a leading telecommunications operator with headquarters in Norway. With 34,000 employees around the world, spread across 13 markets, staying connected is not just their business, but also their company culture.
With over 88% of Telenor’s employees using Workplace from Meta, connectivity and collaboration has greatly improved. There was also an unexpected benefit.
Johannes Belland, a Senior Data Scientist, uses Workplace from Meta to share his department’s research with the rest of the company.
Belland had created some great visualizations of tourism in Norway, and they caught the attention of senior leadership. Within hours, Telenor’s Comms team were in touch.
The next day, Belland’s research was on the front page of Norway’s leading newspaper. Watch the video to find out more!
Telenor is a company where their enterprise social network has been so well adopted by their employees, it's become part of their identity. And the benefits have been immeasurable.
Workplace from Meta is part of who we are now.
----- Anne Flagstad, Senior Vice President of Culture & Change Management at Telenor -----
For companies like Telenor, it doesn’t make sense to draw lines between your innovation activities and your enterprise social network – take your campaign to where your employees are.
Coty, a global beauty company, drive a huge amount of their identity from disruption. And to disrupt, we believe, is to innovate.
Having established Workplace from Meta across their company, it didn’t make sense to introduce yet another app for innovation. But it also wasn’t enough to let innovation occur organically.
Coty wanted to focus innovation (or, as we call it, ‘creativity by constraint’, which you can read more about in our eBook) by running a campaign specifically requesting disruptive beauty ideas to be submitted. They called it Up2Disrupt™, and asked the question: ‘How will you break the beauty mold in 2020?’
Through emotive campaign branding, making lots of noise and getting senior stakeholder endorsement, Coty’s innovation team were able to create tangible amounts of excitement.
Posing the campaign as a time-limited competition added to the buzz, almost gamifying the process, and we've found that time constraints are often a contributing factor in successful employee ideas campaigns.
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.
When an employee wanted to submit an idea, they would start a conversation with Coty’s own idea chatbot in Workplace from Meta.
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 from Meta 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!
Since 1994, Softvision has led the digital transformation of many global enterprise brands. Their team of 2,800 product, design and engineering professionals now spans 27 studios, 11 countries and five continents.
The challenge lay in how to harness all of the potential creativity and brain power within this workforce and to incite company-wide innovation.
Softvision recently used Workplace from Meta to host a company-wide innovation enterprise called the 'Innovation Pod Challenge'. Given that 94% of the company are active Workplace from Meta 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 from Meta group, over 110 ideas were shared, with the top 13 ideas shortlisted.
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!
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.
Why not try running you own innovation campaign through Workplace from Meta? Here are some simple steps:
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:
Start a new Workplace from Meta group, where you can either make it open for the whole organization to access, or close it and only invite select groups for innovation.
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)!
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!
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.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to listening to employee ideas on Workplace from Meta!
Ideas from Anywhere™
Sideways 6 exists to help bring good ideas to life every day, everywhere from everyone.»