Employees working at a table with a cog and some lightbulb in the back

Embracing Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvement and Innovation

As organizations worldwide face increasing pressures to remain competitive and efficient, continuous improvement has become a crucial aspect of business success. In this article, we explore what continuous improvement is, and how collecting employee ideas and bringing them to life can support continuous improvement efforts.

What is Continuous Improvement? 

Continuous improvement is the heartbeat of successful organizations, driving efficiency, quality, and value while minimizing waste and defects. It involves an ongoing process of identifying, analyzing, and implementing incremental improvements to systems, processes, products, or services. Continuous improvement is critical to various management systems, including Lean, Six Sigma, and Total Quality Management. By fostering a culture of constant feedback, collaboration, and data analysis, organizations can embrace innovation and adaptability.

The Continuous Improvement Cycle 

The continuous improvement cycle, often called the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, is widely used for driving ongoing improvements. The PDCA cycle consists of the following phases: 

  1. Plan: Set goals, define areas for improvement, and identify steps to achieve those goals. Analyze data to pinpoint areas requiring enhancement. 
  2. Do: Implement the changes identified in the planning phase and test them to ensure their effectiveness. 
  3. Check: Measure performance against the goals established in the planning phase, track progress, and analyze data to determine whether the changes have had the desired effect. 
  4. Act: Based on the results of the monitoring and evaluation process, standardize successful changes and integrate them into the production process. If the changes are unsuccessful, revise the plan and restart the improvement cycle. 

5Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvementsvg

The continuous improvement cycle should be ongoing, with each iteration building on the previous one to drive further improvement over time. 

The Power of Employee Ideas 

An organization's employees' knowledge, creativity, and expertise are among the most valuable resources for driving continuous improvement. Employee ideas can come from various sources, including front-line workers, managers, and executives, each providing unique perspectives on opportunities for improvement. 

By encouraging employees to share their ideas, organizations can unlock a wealth of innovation, foster collaboration, and drive continuous improvement efforts. Employee ideas solutions, such as idea management systems and crowdsourcing platforms, can help facilitate the collection, evaluation, and implementation of employee-generated ideas. 

8Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvementsvg

Benefits of Employee Ideas Solutions 

Implementing employee ideas solutions can provide numerous benefits for organizations, including: 

  1. Increased innovation: Employee ideas can lead to developing new products, services, or processes that can increase competitiveness and drive growth. 
  1. Improved problem-solving: Employees often possess unique insights into the challenges faced by the organization. By tapping into this knowledge, companies can identify the root causes of issues and implement effective solutions. 
  1. Enhanced employee engagement: By involving employees in the ideation process, organizations can foster a sense of ownership and pride in their work, increasing motivation and job satisfaction. 
  1. Reduced costs: Identifying and implementing employee ideas to improve processes, eliminate waste, and increase efficiency can lead to significant cost savings. 
  1. Increased adaptability: A culture of continuous improvement that embraces employee ideas can help organizations respond more effectively to changes in the market and customer expectations. 

Read on in our blog 'The Top 5 Benefits of Employee Engagement Explained' for more in-depth information.

Crowdsourcing Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvement 

Crowdsourcing employee ideas involves collecting, evaluating, and implementing ideas from a wide range of employees across the organization. This approach can help support continuous improvement efforts by leveraging the diverse knowledge and experience of the entire workforce. 

How to Implement Employee Ideas Solutions

To successfully implement a crowdsourcing employee ideas solution, organizations should consider the following best practices: 

  1. Establish a clear process: Define the steps for submitting, evaluating, and implementing employee ideas. Ensure that employees understand the process and know how to participate. 
  1. Provide appropriate tools: Utilize idea management software or other technologies to facilitate the collection, evaluation, and implementation of employee ideas. 

Picture 3

  1. Communicate expectations: Set clear goals and expectations for employee participation in the ideas initiative. Encourage employees to contribute their ideas and provide regular feedback on the initiative's progress. 
  1. Recognize contributions: Acknowledge the efforts of employees who submit ideas with regular communications and feedback. Recognition helps foster a culture of continuous improvement and encourages future participation. 

Employee Ideas in Practice: Case Studies 

Numerous organizations have successfully implemented employee ideas solutions to drive continuous improvement and innovation. Here are two examples: 

Case Study 1: DXC Technology 

Global IT services company, DXC Technology implemented an employee idea solution with Sideways 6 with access to more than 130,000 employees across nearly 70 countries, supporting ongoing continuous improvement and employee engagement initiatives. Key to the success of this program was the simplicity of engagement through native integration with Microsoft Teams. Unwavering commitment to continuous improvement whilst running several employee engagement programs has contributed to DXC consistently ranking 1st amongst competitors and top 10% amongst similar-sized companies for employee retention. 

10Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvementsvg

Case Study 2: Taylor & Francis 

Global publisher Taylor & Francis' Ignite program is a powerful testament to the transformative impact of idea management initiatives. With no prior experience in using an integrated idea management approach the Advanced Learning divisions’, Business Advancement Team created Ignite to collect ideas, break down silos between departments, increase transparency and support a culture of collaboration across the company.

12Employee Ideas for Continuous Improvementsvg

Taylor & Francis quickly realized that colleagues across the business were keen to be involved so made Ignite available to all employees. The company's Customer Service Team have particularly been passionate about putting forward ideas that improve both the employee and customer experience. Ignite aims to foster a culture of continuous improvement and has become central to the very fabric of their Business Advancement strategy. In just over a year, the company has received over 200 Ideas and brought 24 ideas to life. With the help of Ignite, Taylor & Francis continues its’ ambition to be an innovative, adaptable, and driving force in shaping the future of scholarly publishing.


By leveraging Sideways 6, we are advancing a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, benefiting our customers and our organization as a whole.

 Michelle, Vice President Business Advancement - Advanced Learning,  Taylor and Francis


Embracing employee ideas is a powerful way to drive continuous improvement and innovation. By leveraging their workforce's knowledge, creativity, and expertise, companies uncover novel solutions, enhance processes, and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive business environment. Implementing employee ideas solutions, such as idea management systems and crowdsourcing platforms, can help facilitate collecting, evaluating, and implementing employee-generated ideas, ultimately supporting a culture of continuous improvement and growth. 

Share the love