If your organization has decided to launch a suggestion system to capture employee ideas, congratulations! This is big step on the path to continuous improvement.
The decisions you make moving forward will have a lasting impact on the success of your improvement culture.
Sadly, we’ve seen more than a few instances of organizations that attempt to take this road, but fail to achieve results because the suggestion system never really takes hold in the organization. Fortunately, we’ve also been able to observe what the most successful organizations do to ensure that employees embrace the approach, and are going to share some of those behaviors with you now.
#1 – Talk About Why
Be sure that you communicate exactly why you are implementing a suggestion system - and what it can do for the company and its employees. Every member of the team should be clear about how the approach will reduce waste, improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and make everyone's jobs better.
Helping people to gain a true understanding of the value of the new system for the employees AND the organization as a whole will go a long way toward increasing engagement.
#2 – Talk About Who
Organizations that get the most out of their suggestion system make it clear that every employee, from the front line to the board room, can offer opportunities for improving processes across the whole company. Make sure that you're doing everything you can to promote cross-functional collaboration and to engage everyone in improvement.
#3 – Remember, It’s a System
People often focus on the “suggestion” part of “suggestion system” and don’t realize that just gathering suggestions isn’t enough. There must be a system for evaluating, and enacting them, too. Your improvement methodology and your leadership behaviors will drive the system, facilitated by your software platform.
To be successful, your methodology must be:
And your leaders must be:
- Engaged in promoting employee participation
- Accountable for the success of the suggestion system
- Committed to the behaviors that will promote an improvement culture.
Remember: Your suggestion software is part of the system, not the entire system.
For more info. on those leadership behaviors, download this free eBook:
#4 – Measure and Broadcast Results
Words like suggestion, idea and opportunity, can seem “soft” or “fuzzy” to some people, especially those who are highly analytical. That’s one of the reasons it is important to translate the results of acting on employee suggestions to objective measurements like money saved, lead time reduced, revenue generated, or satisfaction scores improved.
Once the impact of improvement is quantified, make sure to share the success far and wide. This will:
- Ensure that each improvement has the maximum impact, as people beyond the initial team implement it
- Encourage others to get involved in continuous improvement
- Demonstrate your commitment to improvement and further entrench your improvement culture
- Ensure that an improvement becomes the new standard across the organization, and that standard is the starting poitn for future improvement.
#5 – Make it Easy
Employees won’t be enthusiastic about contributing their best ideas if it is cumbersome or time consuming to do so. Be sure to select suggestion system technology that makes it easy to submit ideas, that is available on any device, and that adds value to the process of working on opportunities for improvement.
Whether they speak up or not, you can be sure that your employees are thinking about ways that business processes could be improved every day. A suggestion system is a great way to capture those ideas. How you select and launch yours will make a huge difference in how much impact you are able to achieve.