This duplicity was my wake-up call to know that you can’t possibly lead without a cohesive team, and everyone has to be running in the same direction or it just won’t work. Soon afterward, Trace3 implemented an internal crowdsourcing portal to engage our staff around upcoming change initiatives. We developed a new software tool called, “Portal of Pain-Internal” (PoPin), which allows employees to submit their best ideas for how to focus a company’s initiatives and solve real client problems.
PoPin gathers the inputs from employees, and then applies a mobile application to aggregate and report those messages back up to management. Our results were impressive. Within one year, Trace3 had achieved 30% sales growth with no sizable increase in headcount. To get there, we simply harnessed our people’s insights and opinions for managing through change and remaining innovative.
In the past, the real brawl occurred when groups or committees tried to determine how to roll out a new business initiative across the company. The management team often launched this process by holding strategic offsite meetings to define annual objectives, before cascading those objectives down to the workforce. Next came town hall meetings to build a groundswell of support among the staff around decisions that were already made.
But there was an inherent problem with this approach; namely, that management had no way of knowing if the right people with the right questions and concerns were really speaking up at those companywide gatherings. Surveys can be helpful, but crowdsourcing software allowed us to garner direct feedback from all affected employees and partners.
This method makes all participants feel relevant to the strategy because they can see their best ideas turned into defining objectives for the company. But the real trick to internal crowdsourcing is to go back to the employees after the objectives have been established, and ask everyone about the best ways to implement the plan. In this way, the entire group affected by the initiative will be heard.