Below, we summarize the success of Alamo Colleges' internally built Employee Suggestion Scheme. We did not build their system, and we can't guarantee that you'll have the same success. But, with the right encouragement, and Vetter's help, you could see similar success.
With the aim of promoting “employee innovation and participation in the development of programs and processes that improve efficiency, service or safety”, in August 2011, Alamo Colleges launched ‘Alamo Ideas’. Alamo Ideas is an Employee Suggestion Scheme which chiefly targets cost savings. In the face of Texas Governor Rick Perry and legislative leaders telling state agencies and universities to plan to trim 5% from the state-funded portion of their budgets, cost saving suggestions were urgently needed. Running in tandem to the State pressure to cut budgets, Alamo Colleges had already heard of neighboring colleges laying off staff, so the positive initiative of cost reduction from staff suggestions, rather than staff layoffs was embraced heartily by employees.
Ms. Linda Boyer-Owens, Alamo College’s Vice Chancellor of HR & Organization Development said "Alamo Ideas is about every employee having the opportunity to take ownership in the direction that the Alamo Colleges is headed. It's about being part of a culture of continuous improvement". Staff embraced the scheme and Ms. Boyer Owens highlighted two noteworthy suggestions:
One suggestion submitted to the scheme, which seems obvious now, was to turn off the lights in the vending machines throughout the college during non-operating hours, such as at night. This simple idea, will result in savings of $1,022 annually for Alamo Colleges, not to mention help the environment.
Lydia Hannawi, who works in the College’s Welcome Center, submitted the suggestion of consolidating interpreter services for deaf and hard of hearing students into one location. After the implementation of the suggestion in 2011, College administrators calculated that it will result in $74,600 of savings in 2011 alone. The ‘Alamo Ideas’ Employee Suggestion Scheme rewards the submitters of cost-saving ideas with a cash payment of 10% of the 1st year’s savings/revenue (up to $10,000). This meant Ms. Hannawi received about $7,400, but apart from the financial reward the Texas native commented “It's really going to serve the deaf students and the hard of hearing students much more effectively."