Employee Engagement In Startups
If you are a manager leading a team of bright individuals at a startup keeping the group engaged and motivated is a perennial challenge, and your competitors are ready to pick your best talent when the motivation levels are down.
Having a high churn team or working with a partially engaged team members is of no good. If they do not believe in the idea wholeheartedly, the result will be sub-optimal results, which will be suicidal for your venture. Looking at this issue from your team members view, they may feel they have few opportunities to contribute to the success of the company.
Research shows that Individual employees have limited spheres of influence and responsibility. While they may be able to improve their day-to-day work, it?s hard for them to cascade their ideas to relevant decision-makers.
Employees have small spheres of influence to present their thoughts, typically limited to their, managers, teams and Informal networks. Thus the traditional efforts to generate ideas from employees, while well-intentioned, do not bear fruit.
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A new model for engaging your team
Today it is relatively easy to set up a micro-site ? more so in a startup, where there will be tech team without any doubt. The microsite can serve as an ideation portal. The portal should be employee-driven and a likely avenue for sourcing ideas from the employees about how to improve the business.
In this model, employees themselves determine the best ideas and idea generators provide detailed guidance that can be used by the management team to filter them. The process should be visible and credible, demonstrating to employees that company trusts and values their thoughts.
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How to set up the idea factory
The first step is to establish the platform through which ideas will be generated. Key to the success of the platform is that it is open and accessible to most employees and that employees can vote for their favorite ideas.
After that move to generate traffic and interest in the ideas program by advertising it throughout the year and regularly posting new requests for ideas or organization-wide challenges to be solved.
It?s a good practice to establish a small team to manage the idea generation process. Their primary role will be to manage the portal itself, to monitor the voting and selection process, and to work with senior management and relevant stakeholders on final selection and implementation.? While the portal works best and is most applicable when used to address specific business needs, open submission leads to unique innovations and identifies new challenges that the organization may not be aware of.
How to maintain the idea momentum & quality.
You should periodically review ideas posted on the portal to remove any that are misfits or not aligned with your culture. Consider adding functionality that allows employees to flag inappropriate suggestions so the team can quickly identify and remove them. This self-policing further drives the employee centricity of the process.
The next step is to Involve senior management and relevant stakeholder groups after employee voting has been closed. The senior management should review the top 5 to 10 ideas with the highest number of votes to make a final decision on the next steps. And in this process, don?t forget to embed employees into the selection process to ensure that selected ideas remain true to their original vision.
To keep the momentum going, make a ?wall of fame? in your office and publicly recognize the generator of these ideas. This formal recognition will demonstrate to the broader employee population that their thoughts and opinions are taken seriously.