Leaders aren’t the only people in your organization with good ideas. Team members who work in the trenches each day probably have lots of creative insight into increasing productivity, improving efficiency and creating a better working environment.
If your team hasn’t come to you with ideas, it does not mean they don’t have them. They could be afraid of rejection, or your organization may foster an environment where employees do not feel as though their ideas are valued. If you want to tap into the creativity of your team, here are some suggestions to encourage idea sharing.
Monthly brainstorming meetings – Gather your team once a month and have everyone discuss the things that aren’t working and things that can be improved. Create an open forum where ideas are not rejected, and criticism from others is not permitted. During these sessions, you should not contribute any ideas. This is a forum for your team to get creative. At first, you may need to facilitate the discussion by presenting problems that you are aware of, tapping the group for solutions. At the end of the session, have each team member write down their three favorite ideas on a blank sheet of paper.
Run popular ideas up the flagpole – Don’t worry about how viable the ideas are. In your own meetings with leadership, present your team’s favorites to your own bosses. This will show the group that you’re willing to follow through on their suggestions.
Acknowledge good ideas that benefit the group – When your employees see that there are accolades given out for sharing good ideas, it will encourage them to continue with their brainstorming. The reward can be small. An extended lunch hour, permission to leave an hour early on a Friday, or allowing a team member to come in late one morning can be a simple way to thank them for their contributions.
Implement what you can – While your own bosses may nix some (or even most) ideas, in order to support sharing, implement practical ideas that your team can put into action without approval from other departments.
If monthly brainstorming sessions don’t work for practical reasons, you may want to try something else. Some managers enact fun, morale-boosting programs like leadership luncheons in which managers invite three team members to lunch once per month. During those lunches, let your companions share their ideas. Give them your undivided attention, and be sure to ask lots of questions about their individual thoughts. Each month, take different people, and throughout the year mix up the order in which you invite your employees. Different combinations of people can stimulate creativity in unique ways.
If your organization is on the lookout for talented managers and leaders who foster idea sharing and creativity in the workplace, contact CERS today. We are a top-tier recruiting and consulting firm in Boca that can help you locate and hire the right talent to drive your business forward. We are connected to a large, diverse candidate pool, and we can help you craft a plan for both your short and long-term recurring needs. Contact us to learn more about our proven methods for success.