Your employees are a valuable resource to the company for more than just the daily work they do. They can also be a source of innovative ideas that can save the company money, and help the company move forward. Employees have firsthand experience with the day-to-day interaction between vendors and customers, and with a proper suggestion box program in place, you can bring together what your employees know into a cohesive and effective plan.
A good suggestion box program gives employees options not only as to how they can submit ideas, but what information they are willing to give. In some cases an employee has a good idea but would rather remain anonymous. Other times employees want the credit for their good ideas and want to include their name with their idea. Accept all suggestions regardless of how they are accredited, but make a note of the employees who do want credit for their ideas and be sure to give them the credit due if you use their suggestion. Set up multiple drop-off areas for suggestions so that employees do not feel intimidated by a central suggestion box. If you can create a suggestion box submission form on the company's intranet site, that may make it easier for busy employees to make their suggestions. Let employees know that any form of suggestion is accepted and that includes recognizing a valuable employee, suggestions on how to improve a company policy or process, and suggestions on how to improve relations between the company and employees.
One of the ways to promote the use of a suggestion box by employees is to offer rewards for suggestions that lead to a positive gain for the company, or reward suggestions that help to improve the quality of life in the company. Once employees feel vested in the suggestion program through an outlined rewards system, then they will start to add their ideas more frequently. Rewards to employees can range from a financial reward or to a paid half-day off of work. When there is something in it for the employees, then they are more apt to participate.
If suggestion boxes go weeks without being opened, and suggestions never go recognized, employees will stop using the suggestion program. Employee input can be critical to the ongoing success of a company, so be sure that management is participating in the suggestion program every week by reading suggestions and announcing rewards for the best ideas given.
George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.