If I told you that your company could save $500,000 just by listening to your employees, would you jump at the opportunity?
Although the above hook sounds like spam email, it really isn’t that far fetched.
In today’s economic climate, every business is looking for ways to save money, offer more products and provide customers with better service. Employees on the front-lines are often the best resource for cost-savings, new product offerings and service ideas. Brainstorming sessions with key executives is often a way of generating revenue building ideas, but what about the clerk in Corporate Services or the tech on your Support Desk? Tapping employees for their ideas can net you huge rewards.
Problem: organizing group meetings to discuss new initiatives is not always the most effective allocation of time and resources. Gathering a group of employees in a meeting room takes them away from their daily tasks for a number of hours leaving telephones and emails unanswered. Work forces with employees that are dispersed in different locations can find it hard or costly to travel to one office for a meeting and big groups can be intimidating causing some people to not feel comfortable voicing their ideas in front of an audience.
Solution: the intranet suggestion box. A suggestion box is a quick and simple solution that addresses the problems associated with traditional brainstorming sessions. Employees can post their ideas on the intranet directly from their desks, at any time of day, as ideas come to them. Senior management can receive email notifications or approve incoming suggestions, and other employees can vote and comment on ideas offered by their peers.
While a suggestion box may be one of the simplest applications on the intranet, don’t underestimate its simplicity with the potential power it can net you. William Amurgis, Internal Communications manager at American Electric Power, has credited cost savings of $8 million (!) over a two month period, thanks to employee suggestions.
Along with the cost-saving potential, a suggestion box provides an area where employees can feel like they have contributed to the success of the organization and a gives them an audible voice in the company. For success, remember that implementing a suggestion box does mean that management needs to be prepared to address ideas that are submitted and to ensure that valid suggestions come to fruition.
A motto we have in our offices is that it’s not the tool but what you do with it that counts. What do you think? Have you seen rewards from implementing an intranet suggestion box?