How to Get Quality Employee Suggestions
Employee suggestion programs should emphasize the quality rather than the quantity of suggestions. Many programs encourage the opposite, which is one of the reasons companies, and employees, become so easily discouraged with them.
In an employee suggestion program, anonymous submissions are not appropriate. People should be willing to publicly stand behind their ideas, creating the type of company culture that builds success.
Peter Block, a influential author and consultant in organization development and engagement, is opposed to any type of anonymous feedback (even including employee surveys) because of the culture anonymous feedback encourages. This leaves you with criticism – both good and bad – without any explanation.
Will some employees not turn in suggestions? Probably. But reflect on what kind of company is being created. Encourage organizational courage and pride.
Consider rewarding not just the employees who submit winning ideas. You could also recognize and reward the managers and supervisors who have done the best job of encouraging employee suggestions. This also includes the Suggestion Review Team for managing the evaluation and implementation of these ideas. The goal is to create an environment for innovation and efficiency where leaders inspire teammates to share thoughts for improvement.
Most importantly, if you want people to care about a program, commit to making it work from the top down. Get the entire organization excited about it and create a culture of open communication and positive change.