The objective of the ‘Innovation@work’ drive is to gather new-age ideas from employees, sparking their imagination and making thinkers come forward.‘Innovation@Work’: Limelight on Denave’s bright minds
Employee engagement is always on the minds of HR in every organisation, as they try to find out more innovative ways to bring people together, to make them feel motivated and happy at work. However, here’s one organisation that has a unique programme that is not only an employee- engagement drive, but also throws the spotlight on the brightest of minds at the company, allowing them a platform to showcase their potential.
Denave, a sales-enablement firm, challenged the status quo of its employees in 2015, when it started the ‘Innovation@work’ programme. While a lot of other organisations implement different programmes for employee engagement and talent identification, ‘Innovation@work’ is a singular drive that not only engages employees at Denave, offering them a strong platform to come together to solve day-to-day business problems, but also helps the organisation identify its star minds.
The campaign takes place every alternate month with a 30-minute agenda, wherein the employee calendars are blocked much in advance. The employees log onto an HRMS, where they share ideas and solutions to a set of questions based on real-time business challenges. The solutions shared, then undergo a two-step screening process involving a jury, which then decides on the winners who are felicitated at a gala event.
Sunil Munshi, CEO-India, Denave, says, “Innovation is core to our business. While the foundation of every business is laid on three pillars — people, process and technology, it is innovation that brings them all together.” He shares that the objective of the programme is to collect new-age ideas from employees, sparking their imagination and making thinkers come forward. In his own words, “Our own business objective is innovating in everything, and this campaign is in line with that, as it supports people growth through encouraging innovation and at the same time helps us identify future leaders. It also offers our people a strong platform for self-development.” The proof of the pudding lies in the fact that in the last few editions, people have shared cross-functional ideas.
Shubhra Sinha, general manager, marketing communications at Denave, who also spearheads the ‘Innovation@work’ campaign at the company, shares that 90 per cent winners belong to cross-functional teams. “This is because people from other teams are able to break the monotony and look at the problems with a fresh perspective, thus finding innovative solutions to the same,” she says. Sinha further reveals that the campaign aims to make people problem solvers.
It is a unique way of driving synergies among cross-functional teams, offering people exposure to all sorts of business challenges and their solutions. Munshi believes that good ideas can come from anyone, irrespective of level or function. “Brainstorming need not only take place in the boardroom. It should go down across levels,” he says.
Even the employees at Denave, now look forward to each drive with great enthusiasm and excitement. Sinha observes that while the winners rejoice, many others repeatedly admit that even they could have come up with a solution similar to the prize-winning idea, if only it had occurred to them at the right moment. “This shows that our people see healthy competition in the activity and feel motivated to think better and innovate more with each passing drive,” she says.
According to Sinha, the winning solutions are also implemented with the innovation champs aligning with the concerned team. This provides real-time cross-functional experience to the winners. Questions are invited from the staff so that all employees get to share their day-to-day business challenges. These questions are evaluated before each drive and three or four selected questions are then presented.
Munshi explains that during each drive, a recap of the winning ideas from the last drive is done too. This ensures that the winning ideas don’t go in vain, as the implementation of the ideas is system tracked.
On an average, about 800–1000 responses are received in each drive and over 50 per cent of the people answer more than one question from the three or four presented to them. The felicitation ceremony is always an eagerly awaited affair, as people anticipate the winning responses. The entire top management, including the global CXOs, attend the felicitation ceremony, which is conducted within 15 days of the activity.
In 205, the first season of ‘Innovation@work’ had just one event, which increased to four in season-II in 2016–17. Denave now plans to organise a round-up gala for the same in December this year, for its current workforce of about 5000. Although the drive is only limited to its headquarters in Noida as of now, the company is hoping to take it global in season three next year.