Avios Group, which has 500 UK-based employees, operates the Avios reward currency for the British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, AerClub, Vueling Club and Meridiana Club, as well as the Avios Travel Rewards Programme in South Africa. It is also the currency for kulula.com and Flybe frequent flyers.
The Avios UK digital and innovation team decided that running a campaign allowing employees to see the idea generation process for the business in action would help to drive interest and engagement. This, in turn, would foster a link between the performance of the workforce and the success of the organisation.
Hanna Greenfield, emergent technology manager at Avios, says: “We wanted to find a unique way to bring people together and engage them in the best way possible. To do that, we needed to create a buzz and make it easy for them to share ideas with each other.”
In January and February 2018, the team ran its ‘Light the bulb’ ideas challenge, after a digital survey of all UK staff helped Avios Group pinpoint three idea streams: customer experience, speed and agility, and data.
Social networking service Yammer was already being actively used in various pockets of the organisation. The UK digital and innovation team saw this as an opportunity to reduce the barriers to idea submission and creation, by encouraging employees to socialise and get feedback from colleagues. The team created a group named ‘Avios ideas’ and invited all employees to join and begin posting ideas.
Large light bulbs were placed around the workplace, which were then linked directly to Yammer and the organisation’s Sideways 6 idea management software platform. As soon as an idea was submitted on the group, it was picked up by Sideways 6 and the light bulbs began flashing in a different colour according to the relevant idea stream.
Once posts were picked up, the team could move between the three idea streams using Sideways 6, shortlisting the best ideas based on likes and comments, and then sending them to the expert panel for review.
Over a five-week period, nearly 500 employees joined the Avios ideas group and a total of 89 ideas were submitted. Out of these, 12 have been sponsored and the remainder now make up a large bank of ideas that can be taken forward if ever required.
Avios is encouraging sponsors to get the idea owners involved in the development and testing process going forward.
“We know that everyone has great ideas and we wanted to give our employees the voice to share ideas they believe will make a difference and improve the business,” concludes Greenfield.