PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE LEAD NAVIGATOR
Thanks to all of you who sent me congratulations on my up and coming grandparenthood. Here is an even bigger surprise — my daughter is going to have triplets. OMG!
EMPLOYEE SUGGESTION PROGRAMS
Businesses need to look for ways to cut costs and improve performance. Capturing ideas and suggestions from employees should be a top priority.
Getting employees engaged not only yields valuable ideas and suggestions but also engages and improves employee motivation, creating a more productive and satisfying work environment. Yet, many ignore the untapped resource of their employees who know their jobs better than any so-called expert.
Marsha Myers of Lee Hecht Harrison said, “Managers usually overlook the company’s most valuable asset and source of information — their employees. As the economy slows, creative organizations can find new ways to drive revenue and reduce costs by seeking employee suggestions.”
Fact 1: Just 41 percent of employees think their senior management supports new ideas and new ways of doing things.
Fact 2: Only 44 percent of employees think their organization’s employee suggestion program is effective.
Study after study show most employee suggestion programs fail to work as intended. Many organizations still use suggestion boxes. But for many people, a suggestion box is an extinct dinosaur of the past. Why?
Employees have learned most suggestions just sit in the box and go unanswered. Consider the following situation. A company president sent an e-mail to all his employees asking them to send him their ideas.
Employees responded and sent in dozens of ideas and suggestions. The president was impressed but overwhelmed. Because there was no infrastructure in place to evaluate and implement the ideas, most of the suggestions withered and died along with the attitudes and trust of his employees.
During the past 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of organizations in designing employee suggestion and engagement programs. Years ago, I was responsible for creating an employee suggestion program for an organization of 72,000 people. As a board member of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, I had the opportunity to examine and evaluate how leading organizations use their Employee Suggestion Systems (ESS) to produce results. I trained managers at Yamaha and learned how they drive continuous improvement with their Kaizen process. My experiences have taught me what works and what does not.
Here are two programs to consider.
Good Idea Boards
Atlanta’s Buckhead Ritz-Carlton Hotel collects ideas and suggestions by asking employees to write them on an “easy wipe” board in their respective departments. Instead of passing untested ideas up the chain of command, the employee who originates an idea has responsibility for its implementation. They follow a three-step work process: “Study it, pilot it and adopt it.”
Each department has a quality coach to help individuals with their ideas and suggestions. Once an idea is piloted and found worthwhile, it is adopted. Each department forwards the best idea to the division and then on to the Quality Office for special recognition each month.
Continuous Improvement Process (CIP)
Wainwright Industries Inc. designed its suggestion program and began capturing 300 ideas a week from its workforce. In the early 1990’s they implemented over 8,400 improvement ideas. The associates — not management — manage this powerful process. It works because associates at Wainwright have authority to make any improvements, without getting approval, up to $1,000 in cost. If their idea exceeds this amount, they fill out a form for approval. The names of individuals who submitted ideas are randomly drawn for a cash award each month. The company conducts quarterly drawings for a $300 gift certificate, and it comes with a catered luncheon for everyone who submitted a CIP during that quarter.
Click on the link below to learn about three unique employee suggestion campaigns to consider.
SURVEYS & FACTOIDS
Twenty-three percent of 2,924 hiring managers and HR professionals rate their organization’s current employee morale level as low.
Source: Careerbuilder.com, Chicago
Twenty-one percent of 333 hiring managers say they plan to increase hiring at their organizations in 2010, compared to 3 percent last year.
Source: Towers Watson ~ Stamford, Conn.
When 904 workers in North America were recently asked: “Do you plan to pursue new job opportunities as the economy improves in 2010?” they responded:
Yes, I intend to leave – 60%
Maybe, so I’m networking – 21%
No, I intend to stay – 13%
Not likely, but I’ve updated my resume – 6%
Source: Right Management, Philadelphia
As reported in the Human Resource Executive magazine