In fact, many companies partner with their HR departments in order to use innovation management as a means to improve employee engagement. And the programs that regularly deliver on and communicate change do actually succeed in improving organization-wide employee engagement. That’s the virtuous cycle that can be created from innovation management.
But how do you get it to work? And how do you know when it’s working? Well, here are three places to start.
Measure Innovation Sentiment. Pick a metric (really any metric – is it program NPS score? Is it a basic satisfaction rating? Is it a pass/fail smiley face system?). Whatever it is, you need to find out what your community thinks now and then three to six months down the line (on a regular basis). Even if you’ve already launched (maybe especially if it’s already launched), it’s time to reach out and get some feedback and then collect some more later to find out how attitudes can shift over time. Set a reminder and think of it as your quarterly report card.
Respond to Employee Feedback. The success of these programs really depends on your ability to listen and create change. That means implementing ideas (even the small ones to build credibility, and the large ones to really make an impact). It also means listening to the feedback about your program and finding ways to improve it (new incentive program? Better coaching from your moderators?).
Really Invest in Career Building. Launching innovation management programs is a great way to build your own career (marshaling new ideas, saving the company money, making the company money), but it’s also a great way to up level your co-workers and employees. Make career building one of the key benefits of participating in your program and both you and your employees will benefit from the work. Innovation sentiment will improve and idea quality will go through the roof.
By Rob Hoehn
Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.