But wait, before you jump right in, we gathered some key considerations to make sure you are set up for success. Head of Professional Services Laura McLeod shares her ultimate 10 top tips to ensure a successful employee ideas campaign.
1. Define the campaign purpose and set a clear goal
Before launching anything, it is essential to define the purpose of your ideas campaign. What do you want to achieve with this ideas campaign? Is it new product/service ideas or to increase employee engagement? Once defined, set a specific goal or success criteria relevant to your purpose. e.g. “5 new ideas to add to the product roadmap this year”.
2. Consider your target audience
Who do you want ideas from? There are different options to explore, such as an all-company approach to harness as many ideas as possible, a smaller targeted audience to gain specific insights from technical or front-line employees or selecting an engaged and enthusiastic part of the business to drive engagement with your ideas campaign. Ensure this is aligned to your campaign purpose and goal or success criteria.
3. Decide on the theme for your ideas campaign
At Sideways 6, we recommend the ‘Golden Trinity’ approach; consider something important to the company (a strategic priority or focus), something that is important to employees (a ‘hot topic’ or clear employee priority) and something that employees will have insights on (don’t choose something too niche or technical for your chosen audience).
4. Construct a strong campaign question
To gain and develop new ideas, you must give your employees a focal point. This focal point is the question you pose to them, which will help them focus on possibilities. Try and give them additional context to the problem or opportunity at hand, plus an indication of what you would consider a ‘good idea’, supported by a few success criteria, e.g. ‘new product ideas utilising AI’. Test the campaign question out amongst peers before launch to see if you would get the ideas and quality you are looking for.
5. Choose the duration of your ideas campaign
Depending on your purpose, goal and theme the duration of your campaign may differ. In general, for targeted, time-bound campaigns, Sideways 6 recommends 4 weeks as best practice; giving employees enough time to think about their ideas and participate amongst busy work schedules and potential vacation days. Alternatively, you may want to run an "always-on" campaign, continuously collecting employee ideas and providing a continuous space for employees to share.
6. Map out your key stakeholders
Ideas campaigns reach multiple stakeholders, and you may need their involvement at different points in your campaign lifecycle. Thinking these through before launch will help you run an effective and efficient ideas campaign. Who will be your ‘Subject Matter Experts’ to review the submitted ideas? Who is likely to take on the implementation and delivery of these ideas? Could you create Campaign Champions to help you drive engagement and collaboration? Will you need any technical support getting this rolled out internally?
7. Plan out your communication
Communication is key when launching any ideas campaign. Use multiple channels to promote your campaign; even simple mechanisms such as email or posts on your Enterprise Social Networks can be very effective. At a minimum, explain the campaign's purpose, how employees can participate, any guidelines that need to be followed and critical timelines, e.g. launch and close date.
8. Consider reward or recognition
We quite often hear from idea submitters: ‘well what’s in it for me’? Predict this question and discuss whether you want to provide any form of incentives to encourage participation in the campaign, or you would prefer to utilise employee recognition mechanisms as a means of motivation and to recognise success.
9. Maintain momentum throughout
Once launched, ensure you have a plan to maintain and encourage momentum throughout the duration of the campaign. Consider a weekly post (dependent on the duration of your campaign) to summarise key statistics and recognise key stakeholders; this works wonders for encouraging further engagement and collaboration whilst the ideas campaign is active.
10. Close the feedback loop and celebrate success!
Throughout your ideas campaign, ensure you go back to key stakeholders to provide them with updates and feedback. Thank submitters for their participation, update them on the progress of ideas, and summarise the results of the campaign (e.g. how many ideas were submitted, the volume of collaboration, any strong individual contributions, any promising ideas and the ideas being taken forward). This will help to show that the campaign was not just a one-time event but an ongoing initiative to improve the business.