How to come up with new ideas from your team: keep learning and discovering!
It always surprises me when companies are constantly looking for “new perspectives” and “different thinkers.” It’s as if they think their current employees are all the exact same type of person with the same mindset. They forget why they hired employees in the first place. Often, the greatest assets to a company are those they already have. They know the ins and outs of the company and, chances are, they have the greatest potential to develop the most impactful ideas and solutions.
However, it’s really easy to get stuck in a rut at a job, especially one with a pretty set way of training and a day in, day out schedule. Not everyone can act like a creative startup forever, that’s just part of getting things done. But companies may be unnecessarily squandering their team’s best perspectives and ideas without even realizing it.
The key is to promote continual learning and discovery at work.
Here are a few ways to keep your talent’s best ideas flowing whilst still remaining productive.
Shorten the time from idea to fruition. Keep pushing team ideas creation
If employees see that shared ideas within a team or company are not taken seriously and never really amount to anything, they are much more likely to stick to programmed work and rarely think to branch out from it. This is squandering the potential for employees to build on ideas and solutions that could have profound impact. Show employees that support and resources are available in order to generate new ideas and build confidence in creating. Outsourcing creativity and acquiring new ideas isn’t the only way to make huge breakthroughs.
If there is a new skill your team needs, ask. Ask someone if they have experience in it. Ask someone if they can develop their expertise and provide the resources. If you already have a team member that is great at email marketing, ask them to take on the responsibility of learning how to better manage social media sharing or Adwords campaigns. Employees feel less encouraged to use their creative and critical thinking abilities when they are simply told what needs to get done and on what schedule, day in and day out.
Give time for exploration and creation of new team ideas
It’s asking a lot from your employees to become experts on new ideas and skills, when they already have busy schedules full of their daily responsibilities. Set aside time and resources to allow employees to explore new skillsets and areas of expertise. A good way to kickstart this is by asking your employees to find a relevant online course or ebook, and dedicating 10% of their time or an hour a day to it. If employees are bored with their schedule or uninterested in their current tasks, they’re likely spending more than that amount of time being unproductive anyway. Give them something exciting to do during their breaks. Your team will get to pursue specific interests of theirs, leading to greater satisfaction at work. Plus, across the board the team will gain new skills and knowledge in multiple areas. Try setting up a small fund to pay for online courses and resources that will let your team members pursue new skills. Some examples include online courses in Adwords optimization and basic graphic design.
Flatten (and widen) the communication structure:
Segregating into different teams and cliques can happen quite naturally in an office environment. But there’s a lot some employees could learn from others across the office. At Pixar, Steve Jobs purposefully re-designed headquarters so that all of the different branches of the company had to cross paths with one another throughout the day. The result? Hundreds of patents thanks to constant collaboration and connectivity. If you can flatten and widen the communication throughout your team, employees will understand each other’s roles better and learn how to solve problems in new ways. One of the greatest mixes? Have the marketing team learn from design and developers and vice versa. An easy way to open up communication in any office is a universal chat and collaboration platform.
At Hibox, we’ve built a powerful collaboration platform that connects team members across the hall or miles apart. Hibox combines task management, chat and videoconferencing to help them get more done together.