One of the best resources any company has is its employees. They do the work every day that contributes to the success of the organization, delivering the goods and services that the company provides to customers, clients and other stakeholders.
And because they know the organization so well, when you want to innovate, make improvements, fix inefficiencies and become more productive, the insights and knowledge that your employees should not be overlooked.
Creating an employee suggestion program – where you tap into this invaluable resource – can help your organization to go ahead in leaps and bounds… so long as you implement it effectively.
Benefits of an employee suggestion program can include:
- improved customer service,
- improved customer satisfaction,
- boosted morale,
- lower levels of staff turnover,
- less waste,
- increased savings,
- more profits and improved productivity.
Does your company need an employee suggestion program?
Not every company is going to be suited to an employee suggestion program. Your workplace may already have people who freely and happily share their good ideas, such as at staff meetings.
Perhaps you regularly carry out other innovation and idea gathering activities, like brainstorming sessions, or regularly schedule time to analyze strengths and weaknesses and look for improvements.
When your staff are already heavily invested in the future of the company and generating ideas, you don’t need to engage them in this way.
But if other initiatives you’ve undertaken to gather insights from your employees don’t seem to be working, a suggestion program could be the way to go.
Why do some employee suggestion programs not work?
It’s important to design your employee suggestion program both carefully and thoughtfully. Employee suggestion programs, if done well can be great for improving employee engagement. If implemented carelessly, however, they can be regarded with cynicism and negativity – and if you’ve got a toxic workplace with low levels of morale that you are actually trying to improve, you’ll need to be sensitive and careful when rolling such a program out.
Sometimes the size of an organization can hinder the success of your employee suggestion program. For example, in a very small organization people may be afraid of reprisals and repercussions if they give suggestions and feedback, even anonymously, because it can be easy to guess who left the suggestion.
On the other side of the coin, very large organizations can have issues with employee suggestion programs too. Particularly when the organization is spread over different geographic areas. Some offices may be better at putting suggestions in a box in a common area than others.
Internal culture between head office and regional offices can also lead to resentment of regional satellite offices feel as though their suggestions aren’t being sent to head office and are overlooked. And remote workers or staff who are on the road a lot of the time can feel overlooked entirely if they aren’t able to physically put an idea in a suggestion box.
Steps to create a successful employee suggestion program
Successful employee suggestion programs have a lot of the same elements in common. Instead of reinventing the wheel, learn from what has worked in other companies:
1. Appoint a team
It’s important for democratic functioning within your organization to have a team of employees, representing different areas of the business, to be on the suggestion team and for them to review suggestions and take them to management.
2. Have management buy-in
For the program to be successful, you need the support of the leadership team within your organization. If leadership are seen to be dismissive of the suggestion program, employees will not participate.
3. Have a formal plan for the program
Develop a formalized plan for the employee suggestion program that sets out why you are having it, what you hope to achieve and how it will run within the organization.
4. Set guidelines and parameters around the program
Guidelines should include aspects such as what sorts of topics your company would like suggestions on. You should also ask employees how and why they came up with the idea.
5. Promote your program
You can’t expect employees to take part if they don’t know about it. Promote it through whatever channels you have available. Promote it often.
6. Review and gather feedback
You can’t accurately determine how successful your program is if you don’t build in a way to gather feedback and review the effectiveness of the program. One of the best ways to determine success is if your employees are using it and whether you’ve had any great ideas received and eventually implemented.
How DeskAlerts can help with your employee suggestion program
A fresh new approach to the employee suggestion program is to use DeskAlerts to gather feedback from your staff.
No matter how big your organization is, or if you have remote workers. DeskAlerts will send a message straight to their computer, cell phone or tablet giving them the opportunity to contribute suggestions and ideas on a range of topics.
You can do this by sending notifications via the DeskAlerts survey module that allow employees to fill in ideas.
DeskAlerts can also be used to vote on suggestions and ideas via the polls module so you can instantly gather feedback on new suggestions in real time.
The surveys module can also be used to gather feedback from employees about how the program is going.
Other DeskAlerts features such as pop-up notifications, scrolling ticker tape, screensavers and corporate wallpaper can be used to remind employees that you have the program in place and how they can participate.