Does your company have a suggestion box?
It’s an old way of getting feedback from the front lines, but it works – if you take it seriously, and that takes commitment. The commitment is in Listening. An open mind to innovative thinking may just improve your already keen business acumen.
Almost everyone has worked somewhere with a suggestion box where the suggestions were rarely considered. If this might be you, don’t put up a suggestion box – it will become a company joke.
Find a modern version of the suggestion box, perhaps digital or, better yet, allow anonymity, but encourage staff to give you the opportunity to credit the good ideas.
Give your teams the accolades they deserve for making great suggestions;
- Be open to receiving suggestions,
- Investigate people’s ideas,
- See if there are already solutions to a problem that the leadership team hasn’t considered,
- Ask them to find cost effective ways to explore solutions,
- Celebrate the solutions that work and the people who recommended them.
Give people time and ability to help you grow the company. You don’t have all the answers, but some of your teams will have some of the answers, you simply need to ask them, then figure out a way to follow through. Some ways of doing this?
- Bring in a consultant to gather ideas from your internal experts. (Stakeholder Interviews focused on significant issues).
- Create centers of excellence that open the door to inclusion and hold enough authority for change in those centers.
- Create ‘innovation’ days where whole teams meet up with other teams to solve internal challenges.
- Provide a 1 month review for new hires, ask what they see, what they would change.
Not all ideas will work, be open about that, but some will. Some ideas will be ahead of their time, save them and review them later. Trust that your employees want to improve your company, most of them will want to give their best.