Suggestion Scheme – Do's and Don'ts

by Duncan
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Suggestion schemes are becoming an important part of the management-employee relationship. Properly instituted, they provide a comfortable place for the exchange of ideas that contribute to an organization’s success.

There is a stream of benefits to this practice.


  • Encouraging effective communications

  • Promoting employee involvement

  • Resource for fresh ideas, including behaviors and practices improvement

  • Reduction and/or elimination of waste, inefficiencies or duplication

  • Quality assurance through staff involvement

  • Maximized safety, health and morale

  • Potential to identify training needs

Many companies have implemented a staff suggestion scheme to great success, improving cost reduction, revenue increase, product quality and more. A well executed scheme will definitely see your company and employees thrive. Of course, that’s only if it’s done right. Here are three do’s and don’ts any business should consider before putting a suggestion program/scheme in place.

Do
Design creative ways to motivate employees to participate. A reward scheme could include cash, public announcement through email or company newsletter, or an afternoon off. Do be careful with cash rewards though. In some cases it can be detrimental as employees contribute to get money as opposed to helping.

Don’t
Forget to promote to employees that the scheme is for positive thinking. It’s not unusual for disgruntled employees to use what’s supposed to be a resource for fresh ideas as a source for complaining. Positivity is important!

Do
Set up guidelines for submissions to avoid being inundated with irrelevant material. Employees should not merely make suggestions. They should provide data that backs up their idea. The suggestion should include what prompted the idea and how it benefits the company. Keep the guidelines simple or you risk pushing employees away.

Don’t
Use a single person to review suggestions. If you have only one perspective, you increase the possibility of missing out on a great idea because that person didn't think that it was. Share the responsibility between two or, better, three people, or even a committee.

Do
Get leadership support from as high up as possible. Employees will only take the program as seriously as management does. Executive endorsement will provide the scheme with credibility. In fact, let a high level executive make the first suggestion.

Don’t
Put a suggestions scheme in place and think the job is done. If you’re not getting ideas, the program has failed and that should be unacceptable. You want to promote the idea that you value employee thought. Regularly remind employees you want and appreciate what they have to say.

Written by Duncan Murtagh. Image source

"We wanted an online suggestion box that's easy to run and Vetter fits the bill"

Healther Saunders; ECITB Product Dev. Manager

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