Corporations often look to external talent for fresh ideas, new approaches and cultural changes. Yet, when employees leave, frustrated by a lack of promotion, executives complain there is a lack of loyalty. Ironic, isn’t it? In my post on external hires, I mentioned alternatives for bringing in new ideas, perspectives and culture. Below is a list of these ideas that do not require hiring external candidates:
Encourage book clubs – internal and external. Internally, you may start one yourself. What change do you want to make? Find the best book on the topic and start a group to read it together and discuss implications for your company.
2. External training
Sending team members to training outside your organization will inspire new ideas. This is particularly best done when individuals are sent. When you send teams, you may still end up with group think.
3. Online Events & Repositories
Live events like the Chick-fil-A Leadercast and repositories of management training like the American Management Association provide great opportunities for fresh ideas. Live events encourage your team to come together and make a highly visible investment in development. Repositories allow the flexibility of employee schedules.
Less common, but a great practice, is contract sharing of employees. If your organization has a strong, non-competitive relationship, such as with partners or vendors, share your employees. You can, in essence, set aside specific projects. The result is each team gains insight to another organization that they can bring back.
Consultants have a bad reputation with many internal employees. However, when leveraged properly, these individuals can be a great resource for new insights. The key is to hire them for the individual contributors - not the managers. Consultants should be informing, educating and empowering your employees, not overshadowing them.
Conferences are a mix of many suggestions here. An attendee who really invests in a conference can network with other professionals, gain insight from consultants and attend many presentations on new topics.
7. Professional Networks
Join professional networks – both locally and online. There are countless opportunities for these – even in niche fields. Professional networking groups offer a wealth of knowledge sharing and inspiration opportunities.
8. Lunch & Learn
Team members are passionate about many topics beyond their daily roles. Offer them a forum such as casual lunch presentations, open to the group, that they can present these ideas. These often work for formal knowledge sharing about topics within their role as well.
9. Idea Share Forum
Create a simple discussion forum on your intranet that enables employees to submit new ideas and suggestions. Then, allow the entire organization to rate each submission. The best ideas should rise to the top.
10. Performance Objectives:
Make it an expectation of your employees that they bring in new ideas and alternative approaches by including it in their performance objectives. To ensure this is successful, add a method of measurement (such 1 new idea a week).
This list is just the start. There are many ways to bring new ideas, solutions and culture to your organization. Like anything else worth doing, it just takes the effort to invest in it.
Question: Have you tried these or other solutions? How did it work?