At Schoox, we believe that employee engagement, satisfaction, and knowledge drive business growth. If you want to see your business take off, you’ll want to consider ways in which to give your valued employees a voice. An employee suggestion program is the perfect medium for understanding your employees’ needs in the workplace. A happy workforce will lead to increased growth, profit, and sales for your business. Plus, your workers are the boots on the ground. They’re a wealth of information on how to build revenue, bring greater efficiency to your applications, and so much more. How can you glean this valuable information from your employees?
With an employee suggestion program.
An employee suggestion program gives your workers an outlet for expressing their ideas, concerns, and tips for making the workplace a better environment for engagement and productivity. But not all suggestion programs are created equal. If your suggestion program isn’t streamlined, or offers ways for employees to proffer their suggestions with tact, you can invite hostility into the workplace. And hostility and resentment are productivity and growth destroyers. So how can you avoid these potential pitfalls? To create a successful employee suggestion program, consider the following tips at implementation.
First determine if an informal process is already at play, and is it working?
If your employees are already fielding suggestions and brainstorming ideas in your normally scheduled meetings, then you already have an informal suggestion program at play. If this is working for you already, consider scheduling in meetings that strictly revolve around brainstorming and suggestions. If you introduce a more formal structure, you might kill the creativity. Use your discretion here. If your employees are already comfortable offering their recommendations, all you need to do is deal with the suggestions directly in a separate meeting.
Is something blocking the flow of ideas? Then introduce a formal structure for suggestions.
Sometimes, your workers won’t freely exchange their ideas. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any. But something is blocking the exchange. Find out what is, and when you do, develop a formal program designed to break down those barriers. Are your employees afraid of offending someone with their suggestions? Do they worry about retaliation? Then give them the opportunity to offer their ideas without fear of adverse consequences anonymously.
Get the leaders to support a suggestions program vocally.
If your team sees that the leadership is enthusiastic about a suggestion program, they’ll be more likely to participate. Try to get your leaders to throw their support behind the idea of a formal program. Have them share articles, videos, or presentations that show how a suggestion program will benefit everyone.
Research before developing your plan.
Before you begin to implement a formal program, make sure you do your research. Look at how other companies have achieved a successful employee suggestions program. See how you can tailor it to your specific organization. There may be structural issues at play that you’ll need to consider beforehand.
Develop formal guidelines for the employees.
You’ll want to give your employees structure and guidelines when you develop the suggestion program. If you don’t, you run the risk of them venting their frustrations in an unproductive, and critical way that can harm morale. Think about putting questions like the following in place so can keep your employees focused:
- How do you think this suggestion will benefit the company?
- When did you first think of this idea?
- What issues do you think your suggestion will solve?
Offer a rewards program.
This doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Handwritten thank you cards or small gift cards from major retailers can be especially beneficial for creating incentives for your employees to share their ideas. When you create the rewards program, be sure to make it for viable suggestions.
Review the suggestions across the organization.
Set up a team to go over all of the suggestions at regular intervals. It’s vital that your employees at all levels of the organization are a part of this team so that all ideas are evaluated equally.
Promote your suggestions program across the organization. You’ll want to make sure that you offer in concrete terms why and how the program is beneficial for all employees across the spectrum. Make it easy for your employees to access the program, and give clear instructions for how to participate. Be sure to include the rewards program and other incentives to get people to join. Mention it in department meetings, or have a trusted worker create an engaging video to share around the office.
Keep yourself accountable.
It’s crucial that you review and respond to the suggestions promptly. You must be proactive. If not, your employees will take notice, and your lack of follow-through will hurt morale.
Your employees are some of the greatest investments you’ll make in your company. They are a wealth of information and can help you succeed if you keep them engaged and feeling valued. Remember when formulating an employee suggestion program that accountability, incentives, and common-sense guidelines tailored to your organization’s needs will make the program a success.