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Burn the Company Suggestion Box

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 11, 2009

Does your small business still use a suggestion box for employee feedback? If so, it’s time to upgrade to a better system.

Your business needs to continually progress and that will come through finding new profit-producing and cost-saving initiatives. A great way to develop these is to harvest ideas from your employees. Unfortunately, your employees are not likely to give good profit-producing and cost-saving ideas if they’re contributing ideas in an anonymous box and aren’t benefiting from, or getting credit for, their suggestions. Instead, encourage your employees to find profit-producing opportunities and then go online and submit the proposal to their supervisor electronically. This will provide a time-stamped document showing who was the first to come up with that great idea. Of course, providing some sort of incentive or reward is always certain to get the gears turning and producing quality ideas.

Obviously not all ideas are good ones. The most frequent complaint by upper management regarding employee profit suggestions is that few are very feasible in terms of net financial benefit.

Therefore it will be important to encourage your employees to look at the feasibility of their profit proposal to make sure it will have a reasonably short pay-back time—and an adequate return on investment.

Larry Myler
More or Less
Salt Lake City

Reader Comments

R R Dasgupta

November 24, 2009 12:26 PM

Great Tip indeed, especially on the insanity behind face-less ideas in a suggestion box and bashing the hierarchies by providing an electronic system.
I think what would also be in order is to publish a simple set of criteria which would be used to evaluate these ideas and possibly some definition of the areas in which ideas are being sought.
Once ideas come in, it may be a great idea to encourage teaming and timelines to come up with the goods.

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