4 Key Strategies to Effective Employee Crowdsourcing

You can’t watch television or browse the Internet these days without hearing about crowdsourcing, a popular buzzword for what is essentially a concept of decentralized decision making and using a collective approach to solving problems. Need to pick a cover photo for your annual report? Don’t ask a consultant; ask your employees—all of them. Here's four tips for internal crowdsourcing: 

Choose the right channels:  From intranet portals to employee town hall meetings, every organization has its preferred internal communications channels. Don’t be afraid to incorporate new channels as needed, but focus on leveraging the employee communications channels you’ve already cultivated when you begin crowdsourcing.

Make the issues relevant: Crowdsourcing minor or innocuous topics is a good way to introduce your organization to the concept, but you’ll quickly lose any momentum you develop if you don’t incorporate more relevant and impactful issues into your efforts. It may take some convincing for senior management to agree to crowdsource real challenges or decisions, but statistics on the benefits of a motivated engaged workforce show that the payoff is well worth it.

Engage the entire workforce: For many organizations, geography and variations in electronic communication availability often make engaging the entire workforce difficult. Tap into all of your existing communications channels (and explore new ones) to reach the broadest group of employees at all levels, especially those not directly involved in day-to-day management and receive diverse, and more useful, input.

Recognize successful ideas: Always follow up with the participants in any crowdsourcing project and reward the employees whose ideas and solutions are chosen through crowdsourcing efforts. Whether it is a photo in a newsletter or a cash award, specific recognition shows employees they can expect rewards for giving their input. You can even take crowdsourcing a step further and poll employees for ideas on recognition.

B.J. Talley leads employee engagement and digital media for ITT Exelis, a global defense and government solutions company with more than 30,000 employees spread over six continents. 

This article was adapted from PR News’ Employee Communications Guidebook Vol. 3This and other guidebooks can be ordered at the PR News Press online store.