I talked about ideas in my previous post and what better way to begin than to devise idea generating mechanisms. Best ideas have most often come from our employees. A lot of companies have capitalized on capturing the imagination and ideas of their employees in various ways – be it idea boards, suggestion boxes or much more.
Post It Notes, Band Aid and traffic lights are classic examples of great ideas that came from employees. Companies like 3M, Tata Global Beverages, Kraft Foods and Idemitsu (a Japanese firm) have found ways to generate and implement these ideas leading to rising profitability and highly engaged employees. Using ideas given out by employees increases a feeling of ownership and pride within the company; besides a lot of best products and marketing ideas have come from baseline employees. The challenge does not lie in lack of ideas within the employee base but in effectively drawing them out & implementing them.
It is equally important to get the small things right. Ever so often, we get caught up in formulating strategies that we forget to look at the little things. Encouraging ideas from employees may just cover those aspects too.
Idea boards and suggestion boxes might not always work because they become very vague in their concept. So here’s my idea – ‘monthly themed suggestion boxes’. Make it specific, make it easy. You could pick simple themes like – Training, Communication, cost saving ideas and motivation. Use questions like ‘Which training would you like to receive in this quarter?’, ‘what would you to know about the company and how often?’ They could be simpler questions like – ‘What fun event would you like to participate in this month?’
The possibilities are endless. However, remember that unless you put the good ideas in place, this will only backfire. Also it’s best to not incentivize ideas with money. A lot of suggestions will pour in just because they want to make the company a better place to work in. Capitalize on that! Give out ribbons to best idea generators or just throw a party to the entire crowd.
Go ahead. Get those ideas out!