In a year as disruptive as 2021, it’s important for businesses to ensure that they are prioritising employee engagement, both while working from home and when planning to return to the office.
But how might we co-create a new way of working that generates the engagement of employees so desperately needed while also creating value for employers?
One approach that has been seeing success recently is the “employee jam”. The employee jam is a twist on the hackathon format, bringing people together in the process of coming back to work. It is a way to get the whole team involved, and it can even be facilitated internationally thanks to video conferencing and online collaboration tools.
While it’s open to tweaking, the employee jam incorporates the design thinking double diamond in its format, including:
- Challenge presentation and reverse pitching
- Team forming
- Brainstorming and idea generation
- Solution modelling
- Pitching and presentation.
While many international companies are used to working across borders and timezones, most work practices are email based - which means the opportunity to “work together” rarely occurs. This is where the employee jam’s innovative format creates enormous opportunities. Working in cross-border, cross-organisational teams, the jam format poses agreed challenges, steps the teams through brainstorming, creative problem solving and idea generation, and then dives into solution or business modelling, wrapping with a final pitch to the executive team.
While the jam can be run in a single day, video conferencing fatigue tends to limit the creativity of the teams. Designing breaks of a day or two between sessions has proven to be a way to restore this creativity while also allowing teams a chance to reflect on their work before final pitches.
As organisations continue to grapple with new ways of working, technologies, business and cultural restrictions, we will all need to generate innovative approaches that engage our teams and stakeholders. We have a feeling that employee jams will become a staple part of the employee engagement toolkit.
Have a great week ahead!