“Hey! Let’s get everyone together for a brainstorming session!” I can already hear deep sighs and the emails being written as employees craft crazy excuses for their absence. Do employees really loathe innovating and having a place to share their ideas?
Employee engagement experts would suggest quite the opposite. Having a voice, improving current processes, and providing a platform for learning and growth are all key elements of furthering employee engagement. Perhaps the reason behind the groaning is not an issue with the concept of brainstorming itself, but the methods and madness associated with it.
For starters, there’s Groupthink, which has given team efforts a bad rap and a bad name for years now. If you’re not familiar with the concept, groupthink is a “psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group.” The principal of groupthink might suggest that collaboration is not the best way to create new ideas or brainstorm because the best and most disruptive ideas might never surface due to fear of rejection.
Should groups avoid gathering for fear of groupthink? The answer is a resounding “no”.
This week, a group of innovators utilized the Louisville Red e App offices for a night of brainstorming with the goal of creating the next marketplace disruption in home appliances.
The idea session brought together top talent from various business units of the enterprise. In typical Red e App fashion, these individuals spent time eating, drinking, and covering white boards with fresh, new ideas.
The environment and atmosphere created a collaborative think tank – one where employees celebrated new ideas and challenged the status quo.
At Red e App, our team thrives on innovation and collaboration. We were delighted to share our space to facilitate creativity for a large enterprise in the space that we use to build better communication tools every day.
So, what if you can’t bring all of your best employees down to our offices for a collaborative session? You can still implement best practices and technologies to create a culture that fosters group innovation. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for making this happen in your organization:
- Model authentic communication – Employees can tell when they’re not getting the whole story, and they will hesitate to share their honest feedback if they feel that authenticity is not an honorable trait of your organization. Make an effort to send concise, direct, and timely communications to your employees. Team members will feel “in the loop,” and as a result, they will feel more at ease when sharing new ideas or proposals.
- Provide a private channel for idea submission – Many employees have great ideas, but they don’t feel comfortable sharing them in front of others due to fear of rejection. Giving employees a tool like private messaging available in Red e App will help ensure that you are receiving feedback and ideas from all employees, not just your most confident and social team members.
- Ask questions often – Feedback is not something you should be receiving once a year during an employee review. Create a culture of feedback by asking your employees questions consistently. This might include weekly polls, or it could be as simple as sending out a quick message to employees requesting feedback inside of Red e App.