As management guru Peter Drucker once quipped, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In the case of shifting to open talent models, it’s no different. Establishing a culture conducive to open sourcing can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. All it takes is thoughtful leadership and the following small steps to change how employees look at problem-solving and the use of outside talent, plus reassurance that new open models like crowdsourcing do not threaten job security. Here are four tips to create a company culture that supports the adoption of new models, like crowdsourcing.
1. Prepare for Pushback and Listen
The hardest thing is shifting one’s mindset. When you disrupt the norm, the typical reaction is to push back against something new. Some common concerns that surface are that outside talent can’t be trusted or isn’t skilled enough. When people are first introduced to the crowd, they often go toward concerns about work-product quality and control of the end deliverables, when instead the opposite is true. In fact, the underlying assumption that the few hundred employees of the company can offer the best quality and control versus a crowd of thousands competing is false. Yet these comments and fears are simply signs that people feel uncomfortable. It’s important to take time to listen carefully to employee’s concerns before attempting to help them shift their mindsets by pointing out the value and the benefits of working with open sourcing.
2. Touch in Daily with Employees about Their Work
Speak daily with employees about their workloads, help them identify tasks that can be performed by outside talent, and support their need to access specialized talent on demand or scale their operations. A “yes” answer to any of the following three questions can help employees identify if they need support.
- Is there anything on your to-do list that comes up month after month that you or your manager need to get done?
- Have you been asked about something that you could make a better decision about if you had more research?
- Are there times when you’re unable to get caught up? Have you missed deadlines or needed to work nights and weekends to meet a deadline?
3. Share Small Internal Successes
Establish a quick win, alongside the longer-term initiatives, by kicking off a small internal crowdsourcing challenge that is sure to yield positive results, to show employees how the process works. If possible, select a problem that already has an identified solution. Walking through the process internally first creates a setting that feels more comfortable and helps leadership and team members more easily acclimate to how crowds work.
4. Reassure Employees
Employees need to know that freelancers aren’t their enemies or secretly competing for their full-time jobs. Help employees envision how workforce changes will affect them and the human-resources function once companies scale. Employees naturally have big concerns, including whether their jobs are at risk and whether they’ll get the collaborative support they need. Incent and reinforce the commitment of internal employees by paying people fairly, providing them with opportunity for growth and development, managing them respectfully and inclusively, communicating honestly and directing the organization to contribute positively and ethically.
There is always a need to tend to company culture but considering these four tips will support a smoother transition as you begin a crowdsourcing program. For more tips and insights, check out this crowdsourcing playbook “How to Thrive in the New Economy of Work: The Ultimate Guide to Adopting Open Talent Models within Your Organization.”