6 Must-Do Steps for a Successful Staff Suggestion Scheme

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Encourage employees to submit useful ideas, and your company will thrive.

The theory sounds good.

As you may know, companies like Toyota have successfully implemented staff suggestion schemes. They have improved product quality, reduced costs, and enhanced employee morale.

But how do you ensure your scheme will be a glittering success, too?

Here are six essential steps to implement a staff suggestion scheme at your organization:

1. Obtain Senior Management Buy-In

Any new program starts with a persuasive business case. Your business case for a staff suggestion scheme should outline business benefits and investments required.

The most common business benefits of a staff suggestion scheme are listed below:

  • Improve staff morale
  • Increase job satisfaction
  • Create a feeling of ownership and engagement
  • Build team spirit
  • Reduce costs and increase profitability
  • Increase revenue
  • Improve customer satisfaction

Staff suggestion schemes are bound to fail if senior management doesn’t take time to promote it & drive it. Consider the time required for:

  • Committee meetings to review ideas submitted – long feedback cycles may demotivate staff so ensure committee members can get together on a regular basis
  • Communication of the new plan – your internal communication plan (see below) will require support from all senior staff
  • Implementation of ideas

Keep in mind that your staff suggestion scheme is at risk if senior managers are not able to spend time on it. Managers across disciplines will need to make time to participate in and contribute to the scheme.

2. Develop an Internal Promotion Plan

How will you make sure the whole company knows about your new staff suggestion scheme?

How will you encourage people to submit good ideas?

An internal promotion plan is essential to your scheme’s success:

  • Give your suggestion scheme a name
  • Develop a launch plan to create initial buzz and encourage staff to submit ideas
  • Create an ongoing training plan to ensure staff understand the type of ideas you’re looking for
  • Consider how to maintain momentum and celebrate successes
  • Agree on how to respond to accepted and rejected ideas
  • Consider communication channels from emails to “old-fashioned” paper newsletters

Why do you want to implement a staff suggestion scheme? What are the benefits to your employees, and your company? It is a good idea to address this in your promotion plan as clearly as possible.

Invest time in launching & promoting your suggestion scheme. Encourage senior managers to support the program and to talk about it in departmental meetings. If possible, ask your CEO to announce the program to show his full support.

Create a buzz. Celebrate your successes. Be passionate and believe in your suggestion scheme because your enthusiasm is contagious.

3. Set Up a Cross-Functional Suggestion Review Team

At most organizations, the review of ideas is best done as an interdisciplinary effort. All key departments need to be represented to ensure ideas can be properly evaluated and implemented.

Make sure each committee member understands the time commitment required to review and evaluate ideas. Encourage your managers to be open to staff input and be aware that some senior managers may – mistakenly – feel threatened if staff members come up with excellent ideas.

4. Agree on a Suggestion Reward Scheme

Do you need to give employees a cash reward for a helpful idea?

A hand-written thank-you letter from a manager or a mention on your intranet provide sufficient reward for good ideas.

You are perhaps considering cash rewards, too. Although cash rewards may boost idea generation, it has also been argued that cash rewards may extinguish intrinsic motivation to contribute good ideas.

Come up with creative ways to motivate your company’s employees to generate useful ideas.

5. Set Out Suggestion Guidelines

Which ideas are useful? And how much information is required for each idea submission?

A staff suggestion scheme can easily end up as a channel for employees to vent their frustrations or suggest merely self-serving benefits. To prevent this from happening, ideas need to be backed up with solid information such as:

  • What prompted the suggestion?
  • How will the suggestion benefit the company?
  • How will the suggestion benefit the employees?

However, avoid making your suggestion form too complicated as this will dramatically reduce the quantity of suggestions. It is better to err on the side of keeping the form as simple as possible.

6. Select Appropriate Software

Staff suggestion software can help streamline submission, evaluation, and implementation of ideas. It can also support your internal promotion plan and keep employees (who have submitted ideas) updated on the process.

Staff suggestion software ranges from free, simple software suitable for small organizations to feature-packed software for large enterprises. Check out our list of staff suggestion software tools.

How to Make Your Staff Suggestion Scheme a Dazzling Success

A staff suggestion scheme can provide a major contribution to your company’s success. It can make both employees and customers happier.

To get new information we publish on staff suggestion schemes, sign up using the box at the top-right. Companies of all sizes (from Fortune-500s to growing startups) use software from IdeaGlow to build their own staff suggestion programs. IdeaGlow is affordably priced and relatively easy to implement. If you’re interested, you can apply for a FREE trial.

Leila Durmaz

Hello, I'm your author, Leila Durmaz. I spend a lot of my time researching the best practices for innovation management, and writing articles to share them. I hope you find them helpful! I work at Accompa - one of our products is IdeaGlow innovation management software.

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