Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has introduced what’s been dubbed the ‘Simplicity Sprint‘, a collective company survey to crowdsource ideas for quicker product development and improved productivity. The Simplicity Sprint includes three questions that all 170,000+ employees will be asked:
- What would help you work with greater clarity and efficiency to serve our users and customers?
- Where should we remove speed bumps to get better results faster?
- How do we eliminate waste and stay entrepreneurial and focused as we grow?
By using the Simplicity Sprint, Google is gaining insights from inside the business by giving every single employee a voice, letting them know that their opinions matter, and assuring them that the company’s way forward will be a shared, collective effort (rather than an authoritative direction from the top).
At Blueline, we’ve seen first-hand how powerful it can be to unlock and harness insights from inside a business. Organizations use our Voice of the Business assessment process to gain deep insights into the problems people are facing on the job and build alignment to the eventual solution for those problems. We believe, similar to Sundar, that oftentimes the answers to solving your organization’s greatest challenges lay dormant in the minds of your people—all you need to do is ask. So, instead of searching for answers beyond your organization’s metaphorical walls, why not seek help mining the wisdom you already have?
Mining insights from within your organization has some added benefits:
- The resulting systems and processes are uniquely yours.
- You are extending your competitive advantage, rather than moving to parity with your competitors.
- By engaging your people in the process, you have empowered them and begun the all-important process of securing their buy-in to the end solution.
Google has several key initiatives planned over the next few years, including a plunge into the augmented reality market. To move forward with its ambitious plans, the company needs to equip and motivate its employees to do their best work. We predict that securing feedback and insights from all employees will be a crucial factor in the company’s future success.
Sustainable change requires an intervention far beyond the training delivery
Blueline is best-known for delivering custom and tailored immersive learning experiences, but we know that effective training doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The success of a training initiative depends on more than just a good design; stakeholder commitment and buy-in are critical, especially when it is part of an organizational change effort. Every custom solution we develop aligns with specific, mission-critical business objectives. When your goal is to transform the business, you aren’t going to uncover the answer in just a few hours. That’s why we developed our unique Voice of the Business (VotB) assessment.
The VotB process is a unique combination of background research, free-form interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires designed to engage and secure the commitment of your employees—while pinpointing critical issues and identifying solutions.
After our team has finished synthesizing the unique perspectives gathered from inside your business, we analyze and group them into key themes, needs, and insights. Later, we present them back to the interviewees through a series of facilitated group discussions where we challenge participants to validate and expand on these perspectives. The best part is that they’re not our insights—they’ve come directly from inside your business. We’ve simply offered a forum for your people to view the organization and its challenges through a different lens, while also showing them that their ideas and insights are valued.
The end deliverable is a findings and recommendations report. During this process, we typically uncover new needs or areas of concern that dramatically impact the training or communication design. By the time we’re done, everyone has already bought into the action plan.
Voice of the Business in Action
A company called us in to develop training to help users embrace a recently implemented software system. This new system affected lots of different functions and changed how departments shared information. The existing belief was that people didn’t understand the software or how it could make their lives easier.
We recommended starting the engagement with our Voice of the Business process. Through the process of conducting over 50 interviews, it became clear that understanding how to use the software was not the greatest need, but instead, they needed to put it into context. People didn’t have a clear understanding of how each of their various departments was contributing to the overall business process. Everyone we spoke to was dedicated, hard-working, and committed to the organization’s success, but they were each limited by a narrow view of their work. Along with some other themes uncovered during the VotB process, this led the project leaders and us to conclude that they needed a very different approach than what they had originally imagined.
The ultimate solution leveraged a Blueline Blueprint™ learning visual to provide a big-picture understanding of the business needs and the roles various functions played in the process, along with just-in-time video tutorials on critical software functions to provide needed skills. While one department sponsored and initially championed the training initiative, using VotB enabled stakeholders across many functions to take ownership of the ultimate solution.
Harnessing insights from employees can lead to surprising outcomes, and it will be interesting to follow the findings of Google’s Simplicity Sprint survey. If you need to wrap your arms around a challenging business problem, create consensus where there is disparity, build buy-in, or all of the above, we’re here to help. Although the insights can be unsettling at the outset, we’re committed to working with you to make them both empowering and transforming for the long term. Schedule a free consultation today.