When it comes to your business, there is no greater opinion to seek out than that of your employees. Being open to listening to what your employees have to say and then promptly taking action is a crucial part of your company culture.
First, you need to figure out if you want your employee suggestion program/process to be formal or informal. Formally, you may want to send out surveys or even have a physical box in the office. Informally, you can continuously ask for feedback/input in meetings, so that employees are free to share on a whim. If suggestions often come up in casual conversation amongst staff, you know that your employees are open to expressing their opinions. If your employees are not typically expressive with new and fresh ideas to better the company, be introspective and ask what it is about your current culture that closes those lines of communication? Is an online form more your style? Check out Typeform and see if that is more your speed.
Maybe you could encourage brainstorming sessions to get the ball rolling? When it comes to asking for suggestions, set goals and manageable tasks for your employees. For starters, you could ask each employee to submit at least 2 ideas per time period of your choosing? if you give your team goals to accomplish, it is easier to see the bigger picture.
Consider developing a rewards program so that employees that are feeling reserved about their opinions will feel more compelled to share to help make a change.
Put whoever is in charge of culture at your company in charge of reviewing employee suggestions and taking the steps that are required to implement them. Whether this is one person or a team of people, be sure that they are acknowledging all suggestions within 48 hours. If a solution to a problem cannot immediately be found, start taking the steps towards finding that solution. If steps towards a solution cannot immediately be found, be sure to at least acknowledge the suggestion. Ensure that you continuously ask for opinions and ways to improve. After receiving input from your staff, be completely transparent about your implementation of the changes to build trust. Immediately contact everyone that needs to be contacted for a certain suggestion to be put into play. Use problem-solving skills to ensure that your employees are being heard.
What good has come from your employee suggestion program? Let us know in the comments!