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The best ideas don’t necessarily come from the executives or research and development. The best ideas can and do come from the front-line employees, if the executive leadership team is willing to listen and implement. As described in this article, AT&T uses a tool called The Innovation Pipeline (TIP) to gather ideas from employees. Any employee can “submit, vote on, and discuss various innovative ideas.” Similar to the reality TV show Shark Tank, employees may have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to senior executives, and if approved, the proposal may progress to the next phase of development. Abhi Ingle, Vice President of Ecosystem and Innovation at AT&T, believes that employees are not only motivated by money, but also “a sense of accomplishment.”
To ensure employee loyalty, we must do everything we can to reduce fear – the fear of making mistakes, or the fear of being ignored by management. We must get employees excited about their job, about the company and about the products and services. Some guaranteed ways to accomplish this are asking for, acknowledging, and implementing employee suggestions and ideas. Employees make smart decisions, save money, and come up with productive ideas, but if lessons and best practices do not get shared widely, no one will know about these successes.