Recently, we held our third annual Idea Fest, an opportunity for employees to present ideas on how to improve the company. Whether it’s how to streamline your job, improve the service we provide to clients, or speed up company growth, no idea is too small. There are two possible prizes: a $25 gift card for Best Idea, and another $25 gift card for Best Presentation.
Idea Fest is hosted like Shark Tank, so each presenter has 5-10 minutes to outline their idea, and then 5 minutes to field questions from team members. Later, the leadership team discusses the presentations, decides the winners, and delegates execution of the winning ideas.
This event focuses on not just pointing out problems, but actually proposing solutions. Presenters are expected to include details on how the plan could be implementation and what results he or she anticipates.
This year, we had five presenters with six ideas. David Gadson, our Procurement Manager, won Best Presentation, and Douglas Stanley, one of our remote engineers, won Best Idea. Here’s what they came up with.
David Gadson—Ultimate Team
Our mission statement reads, in part, “Everything we do has a profound impact on the lives we touch.” So accountability is really important to us—not only to our customers and our company, but also to our teammates. David presented his idea of a peer-based rating system that lets us know how well our actions match up with our core values.
For example, one of those core values is Constructive Communication. So how am I doing? Do my teammates have a hard time getting responses from me? Does my speech come across as constantly negative or complaining? Another core value is Cutting-Edge Expertise. Am I actively pursuing new certifications or improving my skills to stay on top of my game?
David’s idea stemmed from the Ultimate Team rating system that EA Sports uses in its game FIFA. Our version would work similarly, rating team members from 1 to 99 (no zero, because no one is a zero, and no 100 because no one is perfect). Ratings would be given anonymously by team members, and would not figure into promotions, salary, or performance reviews with leadership. It would simply give you honest feedback on your work abilities and habits. We all have things we can improve on, so this would help hold us accountable to each other and to ourselves.
A team that holds itself accountable and strives for constant improvement is capable of awesome things, which leads us to David’s concluding slide (which, we can safely say, definitely figured into his winning Best Presentation).
Douglas Stanley—New Hire Onboarding Program
As a national service provider, we employ a good number of remote workers, even before COVID-19. Starting a new job remotely, though, can be more challenging than an in-office position. Douglas Stanley began his presentation by asking our remote teammates for an honest 1-10 rating of their experience when they first joined our team. The average response was not where we want to be, so obviously we have some work to do!
In a company with 50+ employees, if you don’t see someone in the office every day, they can tend to get lost in the mix—the “out of sight, out of mind” effect. This means it takes even longer for new employees to feel like they’re part of our family. They don’t really get a chance to get to know other employees, they don’t know where to find answers to their questions, and their new team is even busier than normal, taking care of clients while the newbie gets up to speed. Raving Fan culture is one of our core values, but we want to make sure that our team is getting the same Raving Fan treatment that our clients do. How can we make this process better?
Douglas proposed a mentor system, which would assign new hires a “buddy” of sorts for their first month of employment—a single point of contact. This mentor will be the go-to person for questions, training on tools and procedures, and assistance during the new hire’s first on-call shift. We’re all super busy, so having a structured system for this helps make sure that nobody falls through the cracks (because Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind).
We all loved this idea! Even before leadership met to discuss, Douglas was a clear winner.
The Rest of the Fest
Other presentations included a company intranet for metrics & document storage, a new service, a system for collecting expertise on the wide array of toolsets we use, and a suggestion for a text-to-ticket system. We are looking into what it would take to implement some of these soon as well!
We hope you enjoyed this year’s Idea Fest, and we can’t wait till the next one!
If you’d like to work with a team that welcomes innovation and creativity, we’d love to talk to you. Check out our Careers page! If you’d like to put this amazing team to work for you, call us today at 877-284-7789!