WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF: Hey HR, Think Like a Marketer, Please…

The best HR pros are marketers first, HR people second.

That means pitching ideas you have like a marketer, not an HR pro. Nobody cares why it makes sense in the mind of an HR pro - that's a technical side of our brains that no one - I repeat no one - cares about. Marketing and hr

So let's take a tired HR/organizational idea and talk about what could make it fresh:

The Suggestion Box.

That's what it's been called for years, and generally when you roll it out, you get a flurry of submissions, then everything kind of dies, right?

One of the reasons is you don't have a marketing platform to launch it in an interesting way, and you don't have a communication plan to keep it alive once it's launched.  I mean seriously, the big marketing idea to freshen up the suggestion box at a Fortune 500 I worked at was "Ideas for Improvement" with a light bulb as the image.

I'm sure they paid an agency for that turd of an idea.

But let's keep moving.  How could you be a marketer (not an HR pro) in launching something like the suggestion box?  One guy I read (startup guy David Cummings) found a great idea and pitched it over at 10,000 Startup Hours:

"Recently I was talking to an entrepreneur about a conference he’d attended in Chicago. After hearing some of the event details I asked about his biggest takeaway. He said that one of the speakers had a “wouldn’t it be cool if…” program at his startup where he’d solicit ideas from team members as well as present his own on a weekly basis at their all hands meeting. Every week, five “wouldn’t it be cool if…” ideas had to be presented.

Sure, anyone can ask for ideas, but the key for “wouldn’t it be cool if…” is to ingrain trying new things into the core of the culture. Most companies are risk averse, and as the business grows and scales, risk aversion grows as well. Every day team members come up with new ideas to change and improve things, but without the right ethos, many ideas are never shared. Incorporate a “wouldn’t it be cool if…” program and increase idea sharing."

"Wouldn't it be cool if" is a great idea to freshen up a otherwise lame program like the suggesstion box.  But you can even do more with that, broadcasting back the ideas in the following ways/tags to the organization:

Super cool and we're stealing it.. (implementing!)

We're hoping to get it for Christmas (great idea, but it's too expensive to launch. We'll keep our eye on it)

We need Google to focus on it for a year to launch it (great idea, but tech really doesn't exist to help us manage it)

It's a cool idea if you put these 3D glasses on (a nice/fun way of saying your idea sucked)

Wouldn't it be cool if HR people thought more like marketers?  I think so.

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