6 Benefits to Employee Generated Cultural Ideas
Most of us are consistently finding new ways to create a positive culture. One source of cultural ideas is your employees. While it takes time and effort to engage employees, the following are six benefits that make the effort worthwhile.
By engaging employees to generate actionable ideas you create more than consensus – you create commitment. In our experience, when a team is a part of generating an idea, they all have a sense of ownership. It becomes Our Idea.
This ownership manifests itself in the idea’s success. First off, they enthusiastically participate in the idea. They are also cheerleaders for the idea, advocating for the idea to others in the organization. Over time, the ownership for each idea implemented creates a positive, cultural wave that reverberates through your culture.
Uncovering Cultural Best Practices
Finding ideas to lift your culture does not always need to be novel or greenfield. Many companies have cultural ideas that are hidden within departments and just need to be uncovered and unleashed on the organization.
By engaging a cross-section of your employees, you increase the likelihood of uncovering hidden cultural experiences. Keep in mind this could also be a best practice an employee experienced in a prior job. Ideas from past employment can be a catalyst to think differently about your culture (by the way, this is why you may want to engage new hires in this process).
Street Level Activation
Generating an idea is only half the challenge. Activating an idea requires a commitment of resources and most importantly an understanding of the organizational nuances that will affect the idea. These nuances often determine whether the idea is a success or a bust.
Street level activation is an employee’s understanding of organizational nuances. Employees will be able to build out ideas based on the nuances within their department or peer group. These street level insights will allow the team to assess the benefits and challenges of each idea and if necessary, modify the idea to ensure success.
Launch a New Way of Thinking
Engaging employees to generate cultural ideas can be a one-time thing, however, a more enriching approach is to make it on-going. We like to refer to these sessions as Cultural Jam Sessions because the title evokes a spirited energy, informality, and collaboration.
Cultural Jam Sessions can be either done on a regular basis (e.g., annually, quarterly) or impromptu based on the initiative of an employee. There can be open roll call for these sessions, where an employee will volunteer to be a part of a team to solve a specific problem or uncover a new opportunity.
Builds Trust, Collaboration, and Breaks Down Silos
This is an action-oriented approach that has a positive impact. Action is a key word here, meaning it is more than corporate rhetoric. Inherent in this approach is the collaborative engagement of employees across the organization which will break down silos and create connections amongst people outside of their department or company processes.
A major benefit is strengthening trust between employees and management. With each idea implemented, employees feel a part of the organization and trust they can make an impact too.
Bottom Line: Improves Employee Engagement
So, what does this all add up to?
The benefits outlined in this post highlight a rich way to engage employees to impact your organization. As I stated at the beginning of this post, it does require effort and resources to run Cultural Jam Sessions, however, the session benefits will take your culture to the next level.
If you want to learn more about Cultural Jam Sessions, click here.