Do not expect the CEO or senior executives to seek reports. You have been tasked with running the suggestion/recognition programme therefore you must take full responsibility for that.
You have the opportunity to become an expert within your organisation by identifying areas where improvement is needed and who is best placed to implement this improvement. You have the opportunity to be closely involved in assisting with the delivery of your organisations business plan. You have the opportunity to be a key player and you should ensure that your management realise this. You must be proactive.
- Understand the wider issues facing your business and ensure that the suggestion programme is aligned to address these issues
- Have an awareness of best practice. Find out what others both within your sector and outside are doing and develop your plans
- Ensure that your own knowledge and expertise is up to date
- Network and benchmark with others
- Ensure that you can give examples of what others are doing and achieving and what you are doing to maintain competitiveness
- Be aware of initiatives being used within your business and how the suggestion programme will work with them to deliver improved business results
- If you want to compete with others for top management attention be aware of what keeps them up at night.
What you must do
- Can you change/enhance anything about your programme to make it more appealing or beneficial?
- Think of it as a product – can you repackage/resize or discover new uses, involve more people, enhance outcomes?
- You must have a vision. Recognise opportunities or demand in specific areas of the business. Should you continually focus on areas where support is strong and abandon others? Could you take advantage of marketing opportunities within the organisation by joining with other business area or activities?
- What resources or training will be needed to ensure your team is up to speed? Outline your vision in your business plan. Break down longer-term goals into specific numerical targets and short term aims. Keep your goals challenging and SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time related)
- Make it your business to know what is happening outside of your organisation, both in relation to suggestion scheme processes and relating to the business.
- Know your business environment. If you are aware of imminent change you may be able to turn a threat into an opportunity.
- Identify the people you respect as experts in your field and find opportunities to talk with them. Investigate opportunities for benchmarking.
- Be aware of what businesses your management respect, admire or wish to emulate and find out their best practices in relation to employee involvement
- Communicate regularly with all employees within the organisation. Seek feedback both formally and informally.
- Make use of internal benchmarking and consider any ideas used elsewhere in the business that you could usefully take on board e.g. marketing expertise
- Encourage experiments and be prepared to take risks in order to maximise the impact your scheme can have within the organisation
- Analyse the impact of your processes on your stakeholders. Consider what could be done more efficiently. What could be done to increase customer/stakeholder satisfaction?
- Consider how cost effective improvements could be made. Do you have FAQ’s (and answers) either on intranet or hard copy?
- Involve own team or work colleagues to help develop and implement changes. Utilise cross-functional teams
- Encourage managers to lead innovation and actively encourage ideas by running workshops, discussion groups or cross-functional teams. Consider using an experienced outside facilitator to run the sessions.
- Lead people away from thinking innovation must mean radical big bang changes. A lot of small changes can add up to a big change for the better and usually with far less risk
- Show that the pursuit of innovation is seen as a continuing process. Innovation does not just happen in workshops. Experience has shown that the 48 hours after a workshop has ended can be a very productive period. Make sure that ideas that surface during this period are captured by the suggestion scheme.
- Ensure your business goals and outcomes are regularly reported in team meetings
- Build long term goals into your business plan. Set and review targets and milestones. Track key performance indicators (participation, implementation and ROI) to monitor progress
- Recognise that day to day tasks are always going to be seen as more important than the suggestion scheme
- Combat insecurity and resistance to change through better communication
- Gain recognition and acceptance for the need to change by discussing the consequences of not taking action
- Continually raise the profile of innovation and the importance of the suggestion scheme
- Actively encourage the involvement of all employees at all stages
Provide regular reports to top management on all aspects of suggestion scheme performance emphasising benefits to business and consequently the importance of the part you play.