Bottom-up ideas provide valuable insights from the people in the trenches.
Although your managers can be thought leaders, it’s often the people with hands-on experience who can inform your processes, improve efficiencies, and help you succeed.
Here we look at bottom-up ideas to help you decide if employee-driven innovation is right for you.
Bottom-up Ideas Understand the Process
Trust the process, right?
Managers can be too far removed from the real work to make the in-depth observations needed to inform meaningful process changes. Having an open-door policy where employees feel safe making recommendations for improvement allows for the brightest ideas to be heard.
It also provides a direct avenue for the people who make the decisions. As a result, valid suggestions make their way into the process or can be shared with the appropriate stakeholders and departments. Having a “there are no bad ideas” attitude can make a positive impact on your productivity and efficiency.
Actively Seek Bottom-up Advice
They say necessity is the mother of invention.
When you encounter specific problems, asking for bottom-up advice is a great place to start. Employees often don’t think about approaching management with their ideas. However, if you ask for ideas for a specific problem, there is a higher chance people will be encouraged to share their suggestions.
If there are confidentiality concerns, a good old-fashioned survey is the best avenue to collect innovative approaches that improve your processes.
Create a Bottom-up Culture
Most companies adopt a top-down approach where managers drive decisions.
However, you can take a bottom-up approach that is driven by employees. Ideas are not only encouraged but valued. Your culture can help attract top talent looking for meaningful roles where their ideas can make a difference.
Integrate your culture into training with formal support systems that make it easy for people to share ideas. Showcase improvements facilitated by ideas and credit people for their contributions to make it clear you really do believe in the power of idea sharing from all levels.
Create a Management Team of Listeners
One of the challenges of bottom-up ideas is that managers become weary of listening to bad ideas. However, if employees detect boredom or disinterest when sharing their ideas, they are less likely to contribute to process improvements. Active listening ensures workers feel heard and see their ideas, even when not plausible, are appreciated.
At the same time, it’s important to explain why an idea might not work. Feedback ensures employees understand why a suggestion isn’t put into action. Although not every idea will be built on, they are still worth mentioning.
Ideas you adopt might fail.
They might also serve a short-term purpose and be put out of commission once that purpose is served. This can cause some managers to resent employee input and be less likely to listen to new ideas. However, when you acknowledge the possibility of failure, you remain committed to the belief there are always better, more innovative ways to do things.
Bottom-up organization structures foster a positive workforce where everyone can contribute in more meaningful ways. A bottom-up culture allows you to leverage the ideas of people trusted to complete the everyday tasks that keep your business operational.
They have the potential to greatly improve your understanding of your processes and make suggestions that can have a noticeable impact on your bottom line.
About Focus HR, Inc.
Focus HR, Inc. uncomplicates the people side of business by providing small business owners with outsourced HR, project HR, and Leadership Coaching. For more information, please contact us today! If you liked this post, please subscribe to our blog. You can opt out at any time.