Once upon a time nearly every company had a “suggestion box,” an unassuming container, located in public office space and usually locked, into which employees could slip handwritten notes to Management. While I remember seeing them often in the past, I am hard pressed to remember where and when I last saw one.
The suggestion box was a means for Company Managers and Executives to receive input from their staff, and it provided employees with a physical place to bring their suggestions forward with hopes that their idea would be approved and put to practice.
Perhaps a distant reminder of the analog age, the suggestion box certainly has its benefits:
Employees yearn to feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work. They also want to believe their contributions are integral to the Company’s success. Inclusion and impact are critical to the morale of your employee base. As these sentiments grow, so too does employee retention, loyalty, and teamwork. The “suggestion box” not only provides employees with a form for communicating ideas and suggestions, it encourages creative and independent thinking.
Client-facing employees typically have their fingers on the pulse of what the Customer wants. They understand the product or service your Company provides and may have reasonable ways to improve upon them. Providing employees with a forum to express their ideas can result in a win-win-win situation. The Company will benefit by fostering a creative workplace for the employees to contribute meaningful new ideas. (Let’s not forget that it was an employee at 3M that came up with the Post-it Note!)
Employees can also be quite innovative when it comes to saving money. Their suggestions may help to cut expenses without the diminished morale or reduced productivity and Customer satisfaction that may come with a Company’s cost-cutting measures.
The success of a suggestion box in your office depends upon a few practical considerations:
Last but not least, someone must be assigned responsibility to oversee the suggestion box.
(And of course, since we now live in the digital age, there is also an online solution that you might wish to consider. Check out IdeaGlow (http://web.ideaglow.com/idea-management-software/) and see if it is the right answer for your needs.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.