How implementing your employees’ ideas could transform your business

How often do leaders reach out to employees from across the business to ask for their ideas?

Frontline employees are fully exposed to the day-to-day activity of an organisation and have an intimate understanding of the challenges that it faces, yet many leaders are barely scratching the surface when it comes to tapping into the wisdom of their teams.

At a time when companies are doing everything they can to adapt and pivot to a highly challenging business environment, they risk missing out on vital information, learnings and opportunities from these key stakeholders.

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To take advantage of their full knowledge base, progressive businesses are augmenting their traditional customer listening with crowdsourcing, a sort of 'asynchronous whiteboard' that can support transparent, collaborative ideation across time zones.

Implemented properly, it can drive the business forward, while making life better for employees. It naturally serves customers, too, who benefit from improved customer service programmes, features and solutions. We call this 'frontline innovation'.

While crowdsourcing as a concept is not new, improved technologies and proven processes can now empower organisations to leverage it as a strategic business driver.

How can you introduce crowdsourcing as an operational tool into your customer experience programme to harness your employees’ crucial insight? Consider this eight-step process:


First, pinpoint the issue area. Ask yourself: what do CX analytics suggest would be an area of focus for improvements to the customer experience?


Create a framework to manage your crowdsourcing campaign, building an easy-to-use idea hub. This is vital to ensure that the crowdsourcing exercise is consistent and repeatable.


After describing the goal of the campaign in detail, incentivise your employees to submit open, shared ideas. Dedicate a few weeks to this phase of ideation – during this time you can periodically encourage your employees to contribute.


As well as gathering ideas, crowdsourcing can be used to pressure test them. Re-engage your employees to evaluate the ideas in order to prioritise the most pertinent insights.


Not every great idea is doable. Having your team assess the feasibility of ideas will ensure that the most important and most workable solutions will emerge.


Commission a team to interrogate and attack ideas, allocating the resources necessary to develop the best solution. Empowerment is key here; you must give your workforce the responsibility to take charge of their own ideas to maximise engagement.


Once the best solutions are identified, it is time to act. Tracking progress against the plan – and its corresponding ROI – makes for a more efficient process and provides a repository of best practices.


Take a step back to celebrate wins; this is an important aspect of weaving the notion of customer centricity into the DNA of the organisation.

Today, taking a multi-faceted approach to customer listening with tools such as surveys, analytics, and crowdsourcing is a great way to gather intelligent data, stimulate meaningful change and action powerful engagement.

The emergence of crowdsourcing technology allows organisations to leverage the connection between employee and customer experience, overcoming the challenges posed by siloed HR, CX and marketing teams.

This can unlock a whole host of benefits, including improved morale, increased retention of both customers and employees, and ultimately improved profitability.

The process allows leaders to bring their whole team into their decision-making, operationalising ideas from those who have the most exposure to the organisation. Using the latest technologies, we can reap the rewards of tapping into the vast wealth of knowledge at our fingertips.

Mark Ratekin is principal consultant at Global CX at Forsta