How to use the triple-A approach to include and unlock the insights of your employees
As a manager, have you ever asked yourself, ‘how can I gather insights and ideas from my employees?’. Most managers probably have, and those that haven’t should probably start doing so.
Whether you want to harness employee insights to drive performance, help with innovation, foster alignment, predict the future, or achieve some other goal, the process you can use to do this is the same — and it is called the triple-A approach. The triple-A approach consists of three simple steps: ask, aggregate, and act. It is closely aligned with the methodology we follow at Mindpool in everything that is product. We’re going to break these steps down for you in this blog post.
First and foremost, it is not necessarily a given that your employees know that you want their input. Unfortunately, it may be the case that their previous managers paid little to no attention their contributions, or maybe didn’t ever ask for their opinion to begin with. This means that the very first task you have to complete is making it fundamentally clear to your frontline employees that you want their inputs. Simply asking for input is not enough, though. To demonstrate the importance of collecting their insights, you also have to communicate why you want to gather their insights in the first place.
As aforementioned, maybe you feel as though your growing organization is leading to misalignment between the team and company goals. Or perhaps you want to use your employees as a tool to sharpen your forecasting or insights for the following quarters. Or maybe you feel as though the company is experiencing a dip in innovation or progress and you want to get on top of it before it becomes a bigger issue.
There are a plethora of reasons for wanting to listen to employees, and the key starting point is communicating this reason to them so that they understand why their contributions are wanted. Without a concrete goal, you will not get concrete answers. In addition, the more you communicate the need for employee insights, the more motivated employees will be to actually provide you with these insights.
So, step 1 is really all about clear and precise communication about goals and motivations to your employees. The next step is where it gets a little trickier.
Once you have made it clear to your employees that their insights are valuable, it’s time to actually aggregate them. This is a little easier said than done.
As useful and necessary as 1-on-1s are, they cannot be considered the be-all and end-all with regard to listening to employees. Whilst they can play a useful role in fostering trust between managers and employees, it is not a systematic enough method when it comes to approaching the collective intelligence of an entire organization. Sticky notes also won’t suffice, as, once again, it will get incredibly messy as you gather more and more insights. You have probably heard about (or experienced) the “idea post-box” that hangs on many office wall - an outdated relic that screams good intentions but adds little to no value. Manually sourcing insights is cumbersome and complicated, it steals significant time and requires significant manual work. It just doesn’t work, and employees know this.
This is where you need to consider turning to tech. You need to find a tool that works for you and your goals. Mindpool is a platform that accommodates for all possible reasons for wanting to harness the collective intelligence of employees. Mindpool is the epitome of meshing human intelligence with technology, making it easy for you as a manager to capture the insights, predictions, and suggestions of your employees. The platform automatically analyses and categorizes all data, so that you don’t have to. It does what the Idea Post-Box can’t, it tells a story about your data. Ditch the sticky notes and whiteboard scribbles and turn to Mindpool which saves you time and effort, with access to real-time processing of insights.
The last step is just as important as the prior ones. Once you have collected the insights, you need to do more than just read through them…you also need to act on them.
As a manger, you need to communicate how you are incorporating your employees’ feedback into your decision-making process. This is not to say that you must include any and all inputs provided, but, rather, you have to make it clear how the inputs contributed to the decisions made at the end of the day. This way, your workforce won’t just feel as though they spent time on something useless, but they will be able to comprehend the tangible means through which their contributions were considered.
Let’s think about this from an employee’s perspective. Your manager asks you allocate your valuable time to providing insights on a certain issue — let’s say it’s about ESG goals in this case. Imagine you already have a handful of other tasks you have to complete and you take the time to give your thorough input, after which you have zero idea where that information went, and if your manager even read what you had to say. That’s frustrating and probably won’t encourage employees to provide meaningful inputs again.
That’s why feedback loops are an incredibly important mechanism in this final step — it’s not just about communicating why employee insights are valuable, it's also about communicating how they were used, if at all. This is a signal of empathetic management behavior.
It’s really as simple as that: ask, aggregate, act. Realistically speaking, without any tools, step number 2 is the most arduous. But with Mindpool, all that is required is 2-6 minutes per month per employee and 30 minutes from managers! Think about how long it would take for you, as a manager, to acquire the same information through a pain-staking number of 1-on-1s — the answer is too long.
If you want help with effectively listening to your employees, reach out to us and we can hop on a call or we can schedule a time for you to pop into our office here in Copenhagen!
If you want to follow the Mindpool journey, which we certainly hope you will do, make sure to stay updated with our blog posts, newsletters, and social media platforms – we want to keep you as informed as possible about the world of collective intelligence and all the benefits that come with this.
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