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Do Online Suggestion Boxes Improve Workplace Culture?

Posted by Maggie Millard

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Oct 21, 2019 2:19:20 PM

Computer keyboard with suggestion box key.These days, there’s very little about business that hasn’t moved online. So it’s no surprise that there are a bunch of online employee suggestion systems available. The days of a box on the wall are coming to an end, replaced by a hyperlink and digital form. But does it matter? Does taking the suggestion box off the wall and sticking it in the cloud result in more employee engagement and a stronger workplace culture?

The short answer is, not really. An online suggestion system is a more efficient way to collect ideas. People can get to it from anywhere, and administrators can decide what data is required, but beyond that, the same challenges exist whether the suggestion box is online or off. There are a few common reasons why employees just ignore the link.

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Barriers to Engagement

No direction – Lots of employees simply don’t know what kind of suggestions to make. If people don’t have a clear vision of the company’s strategy and top priorities, they have a hard time knowing where to look for relevant opportunities for improvement. When employees fish around for ideas and come up with things like better snacks, or longer lunch breaks, leaders get frustrated and give up on the prospect of collecting valuable insights from employees.

No faith – Perhaps the biggest reason employees are reluctant to share ideas for improvement is that they don’t believe that leaders want to hear them. It’s only logical that if suggestions are ignored, people will stop making suggestions. This is why we hate the “box” metaphor so much. You store things in boxes, you don’t do things in boxes.

No incentive – For most employees, offering ideas for improvement is not part of how their performance is evaluated, and it is beyond the scope of expectations for the job. If that’s the case, why bother? People have a lot to do, and leaving well enough alone is more comfortable than rocking the boat.

So is all hope lost? Not by a long shot. Despite these challenges, there are almost certainly people in your organization who have creative ideas for increasing efficiency, reducing waste, producing higher quality products, and delighting customers. But if you want to get value from those ideas, you’ve got to think beyond the box.

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A Better Approach

Instead of an online suggestion box, consider opting for improvement management software that supports positive change across the lifecycle of an opportunity for improvement. Instead of gathering digital dust, your employees will see their ideas evaluated and acted upon. That changes everything.

Here’s how the most successful organizations approach employee ideas for improvement.

Strategy Deployment: Before asking employees to suggest process improvements, leaders meet to chart the vision, strategy, long-term, and annual goals for the organization. These objectives are broken down into what needs to be done by every department, team, and individual. In this way, employees are clear about how their work impacts the success of the organization. They know what types of improvements to prioritize and what will move the needle on the key performance indicators.

Major Strategy Dashboard

Opportunity Capture:
The improvement management software platform makes it easy for employees to submit suggestions that are in line with the strategy. They can be organized by type, department, timeframe, product, or any other category that makes sense in your business.

Idea Review: Every suggestion deserves to be quickly reviewed by a supervisor to determine whether it should be implemented and how urgently. Even if the idea isn’t going to be put into place, employees receive timely feedback and acknowledgment.

Action: This is where an improvement management platform is miles better than an online suggestion box. When an idea is selected for implementation, users can assign tasks, collect relevant documents, manage dates, and collaborate with stakeholders. The best solutions have alerts and notification to make sure that progress keeps momentum.

Impact Reporting: Once an idea has been implemented, it is crucial to track and report on the results as they relate to the performance indicators that you measure. The impact may come in the form of cost savings, fewer defects, higher customer satisfaction, more revenue, or other relevant metrics.


Success Broadcasting:
When an improvement generates better results, it is vital to let everyone know. When people are recognized for their contributions, engagement increases, when employees see others appreciated for their ideas, they are more likely to get involved.

If you are considering an online suggestion box, you are rightly motivated to tap into one of your organization’s most valuable assets, the creativity of your employees. But why not go one step further and get a management system that will help the team implement those great ideas, measure their impact, and spread success?


Topics: Suggestion Systems, Continuous Improvement Software

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