Like many companies, we conduct weekly management meetings here at ATR. We talk about all of the usual things…projects, financials, sales activity, HR issues, etc. These are important meetings that give managers insight into what’s happening across the entire company. But if I’m being honest, these meetings are mostly about the exchange of information and how to address issues. There is very little strategizing on how to make ATR a better company. Very little creative thinking about how to better our competition. For this, we turn to the experts at ATR. The individuals who are on the front lines every day, working to satisfy our customers, finding jobs for our candidates, and making sure that everything flows as smoothly as possible. We give them a forum in which to bring up issues and find creative solutions.
Last week we held one of our Innovation and Creativity Workshops. Ten ATR employees attended the one hour workshop. There were account executives, recruiters, and marketing personnel in attendance. We limit the number of attendees to ten to keep the conversation flowing and we have found that this is a good number that allows everyone to offer up their thoughts and opinions.
I always open these sessions with one statement, “Tell me your biggest complaint about your work?” This is usually the only thing I need to say. The conversation starts flowing and the complaints about what isn’t working gradually turn to solutions. It’s human nature. Complain first, and then figure out a solution. Complaining may be the wrong word though, since we’re just as much identifying issues that need to be fixed. This is the point where some truly unique and innovative solutions to problems occur. The team is collectively able to offer suggestions and work together to come up with a solution and the group is always better than any single person trying to solve it on their own. This is why we have these workshops. And this one was no different. We came away with a handful of great ideas to fix issues that the management team may have never known about without providing a forum for employees to share and solve..
Innovation is in ATR’s DNA. It comes from the top, our CEO Jerry Brenholz, who demands ATR continue to innovate and find unique ways to stay ahead of the competition. Innovation and Creativity Workshops are just one way that we do that successfully here at ATR.
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