Ideating Your Way to a Better Employee Experience

You have probably conducted ideation sessions internally to come up with new ideas for products or services. You may have also brought in customers to help you ideate on the next big revenue generator for your business.

BUT, have you ever considered bringing in your employees to really understand what is important to them and to help you build a better employee experience?

Providing a work environment (both physical and intangible) based on what’s key to employee happiness can impact loyalty, retention, engagement, customer experience, and the bottom line – to name a few.

A great way to uncover what is most important and valued by employees is to host a set of Employee Ideation Workshops where employees are engaged directly to help design a great work environment.

Here are a few tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Employee Ideation Workshops:

  1. Mix it Up — invite a cross-section of employees and managers, those who are relatively new to the organization but also those with tenure, a mix of front-line and back-office, or other variables to ensure you are hearing a representative voice of the employee. Consider also having ideation sessions with the executive and senior leadership teams – they are employees too after all, but they also probably have ideas about how they would make the experience better for the people who work for them.
  2. Use Different Angles — just like when you ideate around new products, coming at the challenge from multiple angles will help deliver ideas above and beyond the obvious. For example, you can ask employees to directly “design” their ideal work environment, but also ask them what they’ve seen other companies provide their employees that is of value, why employees are leaving, etc.
  3. Keep it Fun – using interactive exercises is the best way to keep employees engaged, participating, and thinking differently. Exercises that involve employees either working individually or in teams with glue sticks, markers, and stickers are always a big hit – even for execs! Check out my colleague Sara’s blog post on a game we created called The Award – this is a game that can be used in a lot of different situations including ideation. Be sure to download the free materials for your next session.
  4. Use a Parking Lot – your whole ideation workshop can easily be derailed by employees complaining about heated topics like salaries and promotions. Using a “parking lot” to capture these pain points helps employees feel like they are being heard on big issues so you can get their ideas about the other things that matter.
  5. Dig Deep – have separate in-depth discussions with individuals or small “groups” who require extra attention or who you want to learn more about. Some examples are: groups that make up a large portion of your employee population, have greater churn, represent a large demographic group (i.e. millennials), new employees, teams in a particular function, etc.

Your Employee Ideation workshops should result in a very long list of ideas that can be categorized into different themes. Which ideas and themes can be translated into new initiatives or programs to help drive your strategy? Where will your focus and investment result in the greatest bang for the buck to move the employee experience needle? The Employee Ideation Workshop won’t necessarily provide you all the answers about where to focus; however, it’s a great step to get fuel the pipeline with ideas towards a building a better workplace!

ONE LAST TIP: Identify ideas that are “low hanging fruit” or “no brainers” to implement quickly and make sure to communicate back to the organization that “we heard you!” and are moving quickly on some of the ideas that came out of the employee ideation sessions.

If you would like to talk about Employee Experience, please feel free to reach out!

Karie Starrett 
karie@clearworks.net

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