We recently held our third annual Idea Fest, where employees develop and present ideas on how we can improve. These can revolve around how to improve your job, the whole company, or the service that we provide to clients. No idea is too small. We have two prizes: a $25 gift card for the best idea, and another $25 gift card for the best presentation.
Ideas are presented Shark Tank-style, where each presenter has the floor for 5-10 minutes, followed by a short Q&A session with other team members. The management team meets later to discuss the best ideas, decide the winners, and organize implementation of the winning ideas.
Idea Fest focuses on not just identifying problems or areas for improvement, but actually proposing solutions. Presentations are expected to include a plan for execution and the anticipated results.
This year, we had six presentations. David Gadson, our Procurement Manager, won Best Presentation for his idea for adding an Ultimate Team rating. Douglas Stanley, one of our remote engineers, won Best Idea for his proposed buddy system for improving new employee onboardings.
The FIT Ultimate Team
Accountability is really important to us: accountability to our customers, to our company, but also to each other as peers and teammates. David’s idea is a peer-to-peer rating system that focuses on how we are doing on our core values.
For example, one of our core values is Constructive Communication. So how are we doing? Do our team members have a hard time getting a hold of us to answer questions? Or are we quick to respond to questions? Is our speech negative or complaining? Or are we making an effort to be positive and upbuilding? Are we actively pursuing or working towards new certifications or improving our skills?
The idea was inspired by FIFA’s Ultimate Team rating system, created by EA Sports. Our version would be a similar system, ranking from 1 to 99 (no one is a zero, and no one is perfect), and would give you an honest, broad-reaching opinion on your work abilities and habits. It gives us something we can work on, and keeps us accountable, both to ourselves and to each other.
Ratings would be anonymous and would not be tied to salary, bonuses, or performance reviews. The Ultimate Team rankings are meant to help us keep creating and refining a Raving Fan culture.
The concluding slide of David’s presentation (in which he photoshopped various team members into the Avengers) definitely played a part in his winning the Best Presentation award….
New Onboarding Buddy System
Since we serve clients all over the nation, a decent chunk of our team work remotely (even before the pandemic). However, starting a new job remotely presents some unique challenges. Douglas Stanley started his presentation by asking our remote engineers tied in for an honest rating of their onboarding experience, from 1-10. Suffice it to say, the average was not where we need it to be. We have some work to do!
There’s a certain degree of “out of sight, out of mind” for remote teammates that you don’t see in the office every day, especially in a company with 50+ employees. For those new hires, it can take even longer for them to truly feel like part of our FIT family. They don’t know who to go to with questions, and their new team is busy taking care of clients.
Douglas’ idea was a buddy system that assigns new hires to a single point of contact for the first 30 days. This mentor will walk them through our tools and procedures, have multiple daily check-ins, and be their go-to person for questions. They’ll also be available during the new hire’s first on-call shift.
The entire team loved this idea! Creating Raving Fans is one of our core values, and we want to give our team members the same Raving Fan service that we give to our clients.
The Fest Continues
Our other presenters proposed a company intranet, assigning product champions to develop a repository of shareable expertise on our various tools, a managed print solutions program, and a way to improve client interactions. We are exploring ways to implement some of these soon as well!
Hope you enjoyed this year’s Idea Fest as much as we did!
If you’d like to work with a team that welcomes innovation and creativity, we’d love to talk to you. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.