When you hire a new member of staff you get an extra pair of hands; their brain comes free, or so the saying goes. But how many employers are really aware of the huge talent bank that exists among their staff, or how to go about unlocking its potential?
Staff suggestion schemes, to which employees contribute ideas for saving money or improving business processes, have been around for years. But getting them right can be the difference between them being cost centre or profit centre to your business.
Data from the ideasUK Annual survey in 2010 highlighted that the average ideas programme can deliver a Return on Investment of 3:1 with exceptional schemes delivering a ROI of 20:1.
How do you ensure your organisation is taking full advantage of these benefits?
Firstly, you need to give your employees an outlet for their ideas, this can range from a suggestion box in the coffee room to electronic desktop computer programme. The key to success is to make it as easy as possible to harvest the ideas.
Secondly, treat every idea in the same way. It should be evaluated on its benefits and feedback provided to the employee on the positive and negative points of the idea. This will provide a certain amount of education to the employee and drive up the quality of the ideas submitted in a short time.
Implement – This may seem like a silly point to make, however, if you state you are going to implement an idea, then implement it! There is nothing more sure to create a negative impression than having a great stack of excellent ideas but doing nothing with them.
Realise the benefits – The difference between a good and a great scheme is the benefits realised for the business. Most organisations never consider the benefits of the idea upon implementation. At this point you should be capturing the savings in labour, materials, rework etc. This will give a good idea of the overall benefits of the idea.