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Small Companies, Big Ideas: How Crowdsourcing Employee Ideas Can Transform SMEs

Four examples of inspiring and innovative small companies that significantly transformed their businesses simply by asking employees for their ideas.

At Sideways 6, we know from years of experience and our research that employees have hundreds of ideas to improve their businesses and processes across industry, territory, and company size. As we launch our new Lite plan for smaller teams and companies, we spoke to ideas pioneers to find out how impactful it can be to crowdsource ideas in small and medium enterprises.  

1. BankingGeek geeking out on knowledge 

BankingGeek introduced dedicated “Ideas Meetings” to its regular workflow every quarter to crowdsource ideas from employees with the direct aim to improve and optimize processes whilst also sharing knowledge about the financial market.

Through this mechanism, they uncovered wasted resources in doubling or even tripling up internal research of the same subject. So they created a centralized Knowledge Hub for their Experts’ research to be accessed by their employees to use in everyday work.

Small Companies with Big Ideas 1They estimate that this idea alone has saved them over 500 hours of research time and roughly $30,000 whilst vastly improving the team’s ability to collaborate, share knowledge. This, in turn, strengthened quality control which is vital in any financial services business. Overall, this employee idea proved to be incredibly successful in both saving time and money as well as creating greater efficiency and a culture of collaboration.  

2. Cashbakhero asking a little help from their friends

Cashbakhero is also committed to sourcing ideas from their employees through quarterly “Innovation Days” – a day of ideas pitching aimed at improving processes, developing products, services and features.

One of the most successful ideas coming out of this initiative was the introduction of a referral scheme where customers could refer a friend for both parties to receive cashback. As a word-of-mouth scheme, it was highly successful and more impactful than any traditional marketing methods such as Adwords or Social Media Campaigns.

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This scheme saw their user engagement increase by 200% compared to the previous quarter, reduced customer cost acquisition by 25% and increased loyalty in their customer-base.  

3. Girokonto's automato

Girokonto uses surveys to crowdsources ideas for business improvement, process efficiency, cost saving and hear any other ideas employees might have. Surveys are a great way to regularly crowdsource ideas and one of these ideas had a particularly significant impact.

An employee suggested automating their system for verifying new customers upon signups. This allowed for a much more streamlined onboarding process, saving time on manual verification and accelerating customer acquisition.

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According to their estimation, this idea has resulted in a 10% increase in customer satisfaction, a 15% rise in new customer acquisition, and a 25% reduction in onboarding time. 


 4. COGZ's Hotel 

COGZ Systems has an ‘always on’ ideas program where employees can submit ideas through a form on their employee portal.

One of their most successful implemented ideas was to develop a desk hotel system for hybrid employees, at a time where they were considering an office expansion. Instead of having dedicated workspaces for employees who come once or twice / week, employees were able to reserve a shared workspace for their time in the office.

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IT built this functionality in-house without incurring any external costs, resulting in an estimated cost savings of around $100,000 by avoiding expanding or moving offices. 

Whether through dedicated meetings or strategy days, surveys or integrated apps, the impact of asking employees for efficiency and business improvement ideas can be transformative. It creates a company culture that flattens hierarchies and champions its employees, where they can be heard and feel valued. This culture nurtures a sense of ownership, which subsequently leads to better productivity and loyalty.

Our Ideas Lite solution integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, providing employees with a platform to share their ideas continuously using a tool they are familiar with. Experience the power of our solution for yourself at no cost for 30-days. Simply go to the App store and see what it's all about.

Huge thanks to our fellow Ideas Enthusiasts: Max Benz, Founder and CEO at BankingGeek, Robert Hoffmann, Marketing Manager at CashbackHero, Lisa Dietrich, Partner at and Erin Ouellette, Product Specialist at COGZ Systems and to Shane Nolan for the writing advice. 

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