We’ve written quite a bit in this blog about how to build a culture of continuous improvement within an organization. When seeking to do so, it is essential to recognize that each company exists within the broader context of how people live and work today.
What workers want from their employers, especially younger workers, is different than what people looked for and expected twenty years ago. It might not be immediately apparent how technology like idea management software can help bring employees and leadership teams closer together and fulfill the most essential needs of both, but we think it’s worth exploring.
Here are a few reasons that we believe idea management software is right at home in the modern workplace.
It’s the perfect combination of small changes and the big picture
I suppose that there have historically been some workers who were happy attending to their stated task without any insight into why it was important, but I guess that people have always cared, they just haven’t always been given that information or been empowered to ask. Recently, leaders have begun to recognize that providing more information about how each person contributes to the overall objectives of the organization creates emotional investment and improves both innovation and productivity.
Idea management software gives employees the power to impact the visionary goals of the organization by making suggestions about small, achievable changes within their sphere of influence. The great thing about this approach is that practical problem-solving solving on a micro level leads to relatively immediate gratification. People don’t have to wait for the three-to-five-year breakthrough goals to be achieved before they feel like they’ve made a valuable contribution. Each idea that is submitted and acted upon helps grease the skids, propelling the team toward the most important strategic goals.
Idea management is aligned with modern employees' most pressing needs
There’s a big gap between why managers think employees leave and why they actually do. Managers ascribe turnover to things like pay and benefits. However, when employees are surveyed the reasons that they quit are more often related to how they perceive themselves as being valued and how well their current work is preparing them for their future career goals.
Idea management software that invites every individual to contribute toward positive change helps meet the need to contribute and be recognized for excellent work. Employees who participate in projects to implement the submitted ideas gain problem-solving solving and critical thinking skills that can make them more effective in their current role and prepare them for the next.
Another thing that comes up quite frequently in surveys of employees who have quit is their relationship with their direct supervisor. This relationship is one of the keys to retention. Idea management software helps managers structure their employee interactions in a constructive manner that increases dialog and fosters appreciation.
Finally, when individual goals are aligned with organizational goals through a structured approach to improvement, employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them, making them both more effective and happier.
Idea software leverages visualization
Today’s younger workers have grown up with apps and dashboards. Today, you can’t order a pizza without being exposed to visual management. Whether you love or hate Domino’s pizza, their app is pretty awesome. If you request a Lyft, you can see exactly where the car is and get an alert as the driver pulls up to your door. These visuals are beloved because people process visual information very quickly. If you can see the progress of any process, you know where you stand and what to expect.
The best idea software solutions have visual management built-in. Control charts, for example, take the emotion and doubt out of decision making and make the state of any given process, and potentially, the need for improvement immediately clear. Kanban boards show the progress of an opportunity for improvement that is being implemented, letting people feel good about the journey, not just the final destination. When your idea management platform can support these and other visual management techniques, you can expect sustained and widespread improvement momentum.
It’s unlikely that applicants are going to ask if you leverage idea management software, but letting them know that you do, and how you use it to empower each person to contribute to innovation and process perfection is an excellent way to set your company apart from the others competing for talent.