It’s that time of year. Leaves are changing color. Temperatures are dropping (errr, should be). People are ditching Pumpkin Spice lattes in favor of filling their Starbucks holiday cups with Gingerbread and Peppermint Mocha. Maybe you’ve even taken the festivus pole out of storage. You get the idea, it’s the holidays.
With so much going on, we often hear from Planview IdeaPlace clients that engaging employees in innovation challenges gets to be difficult at this time of year, specifically mid-November through early January. To be sure, the hustle and bustle of the season, combined with company holiday closures and PTO schedules, does add real logistical considerations to manage if you do plan on engaging your employee base. But, you don’t need to shut down your crowdsourcing program altogether. Many Planview IdeaPlace programs can and do find great ways to stay active.
I’d like to share one example with you here.
Instead of going quiet and holding off challenge activity until January, Adventist Health (AH) Bakersfield is using the holidays to their advantage by engaging employees in a “giving” themed challenge that capitalizes on the spirit of the season.
The brainchild of Sharlet Briggs (CEO, Adventist Health Bakersfield) and Amanda Frank (Director of Development, Adventist Health Bakersfield), the “Community Give Back” challenge initiative was recently launched to all AH Bakersfield employees. During the month of November, the company is asking employees to share ideas on local nonprofits making an impact within the community. Employees will submit their nominations and vote for their favorites. Amanda and Sharlet will then review the submissions, and, leveraging the crowd favorites, select a few nonprofits that are best representative of AH’s mission and values. Winning organizations will be awarded $1,000 in funding.
Their goal is to keep their people engaged in positive ways to close out 2017, and then build from the momentum of this challenge for a more strategically focused challenge to begin 2018.
Beyond leveraging the seasonal “giving” theme to crowdsource during a busy time, there’s also clear research and benefits to engaging employees in your company’s philanthropy efforts, regardless of the time of year that you choose to engage them.
According to Great Place to Work, empowering employee choice in corporate giving efforts is a top trend in 2017, whereby you “allow employees to take the lead in determining where the giving dollars go…When you support causes that your people are already passionate about, you send a clear message that their interests and ideas matter.”
Beyond the clear benefits of enabling your employees to help shape your philanthropic efforts, seasonal “themed” challenges are a great way to break through what’s commonly a difficult time to get reliable employee engagement.
Do you have any creative approaches you’ve taken (or are considering) to continue crowdsourcing through the holidays? Perhaps a New Years-focused “Pairwise-Only” challenge to prioritize your key initiatives for the upcoming year?
We’d love to hear other ways to maximize innovation productivity during the holiday season!
About the author
Danny Flynn is the Director of Client Success (US West) at Planview IdeaPlace.