5 steps to get your employees on board for innovations and keep them there
Innovation is a top priority in almost every company. And yet many innovation activities fail. To innovate successfully in a company, companies must invest as much energy in the marketing of innovations as in the innovation itself. Just as important as marketing to the customer is marketing to your own employees.
You have an idea
You are enthusiastic about a new idea, want to implement it, put together a project team, invest a lot of money in development and believe in the next big thing. But during the implementation you notice that everything is somehow running rather slowly. While few employees take up the idea, the majority of employees do not seem to do so. Strange, you’ve sent a mail to everyone about what this is about. Some employees apparently didn’t even read them. Other employees deliberately ignore when the boss comes up with a new idea. You have already seen too many flash in the pan, so why show commitment now?
Don’t forget to get your employees on board.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you may have made the same mistake that happens to almost every company. You have somehow forgotten to pick up your employees or lost them on the way. While you are thinking about how to market the innovation to the customer, you have not thought about how to market it to your own employees. But this is absolutely necessary if you expect your employees to identify and commit to one of your ideas.
So make sure that your “budget” includes time and money for internal marketing. This reduces your risk enormously that a perhaps even very good idea becomes a pipe burst.
5 steps to make your employees love your idea
Here are 5 steps how to get your employees on board for innovations and not lose them on the journey.
1. win the senior management
Your executives are your multipliers, your voice, your tailwind, your opinion leaders. Bring them to the table first. Present your idea and discuss it. Give room for criticism, for questions, for objections. Find agreement on goals, target groups, capacities and expectations. Make it clear how important each individual manager is so that an idea becomes a success.
2. talk to all relevant departments
The executives are now on board. Which departments still have direct or indirect points of contact with the idea? Take an hour for each department and create a basic understanding and commitment for your idea. Discuss any issues that concern a specific department. So the personnel department wonders what it has to pay attention to. The same applies to the finance department, production, sales, purchasing, works council or IT. Carefully listen to the individual connection points with an open ear and your boat will become fuller.
3. internal marketing campaigns
Yes, you had the basic idea. Those are your laurels. Yet you have not eaten wisdom with spoons. You should put your idea to the test, refine and optimize it. And how do you do that best? Who would be the best person to help you? They’re your employees! They deal day in, day out with customers, products and services and often know more than anyone else what still needs to be considered in an idea. Get this valuable and affordable feedback! Hold a townhall meeting – 15 minutes is enough – not every detail needs to be presented. Offer your employees to consider and review all their additions and objections by a specific date. Print posters, flyers and displays with information about your idea and post the employee areas, the canteen and the internal meeting rooms – it doesn’t cost much, but it has an enormous effect, because it shows the seriousness. Everyone needs to know that your idea now has a certain priority. +Do you have an intranet? Communicate! Do you have monitors? Create a picture of your project. Keep the idea present!
4. interim reports
Use the power of repetition. One email is not enough. Provide regular feedback and development status to your entire workforce. Do not always repeat the same message, but provide new information. Your employees can see your progress and participate in it. Use notices, the intranet or short TownHall meetings.
5. commitment through participation
Always think of the people who will later implement your idea. Let them become part of the idea. Hold fewer but constructive meetings with up to 10 relevant employees who act as your “jury”. They reflect to youwhether they think you are on the right track or whether you might have overlooked something. They are the practitioners, the potential users of the idea. Later, these employees will also be your ambassadors and missionaries who will carry the idea, which now belongs to all of you, out into the world and convince all other colleagues of it.
Follow these 5 steps in “marketing inwards” and you can be sure that many activities. which have not been well received in the past will be very successful in the future.