UAE and Suggestion Schemes…


I have just spent the past week in the United Arab Emirates visiting companies and auditing their suggestion schemes for accreditation 2012.

As most of you know, the UAE has developed hugely over the past 15 years and Dubai is hardly recognisable from the town it was in the late 90’s. Something that may surprise you though is how employee engagement is taking hold within Governmental Departments in the area.

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How Not to Engage…


Now, something about my home life that you should know is that my wife loves soap operas on television. Well, one in particular, and that is Coronation Street. For readers of this blog overseas, this is a soap that is set in the North of England and is set around a working class street.

So, what does this have to do with employee engagement I hear you ask?

Well, on Monday night, my wife was watching some episodes of this soap and something really struck me. In the show, one of the central points is a factory that manufactures ladies underwear run by a character called Carla. Continue reading

Recognition – An Analysis Part 1


Today’s post is going to be the first in a series of articles looking at recognition in the workplace.

Here we look at what recognition is and why you should have a programme in your organisation.

What is recognition?  – An acknowledgement

Recognition is an unexpected acknowledgement for a job well done, going the extra mile, performing above and beyond the call of duty. Continue reading

What does Suggestion Scheme Management Involve?


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

 Opportunities

  • 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?

Planning

  • 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)

Look outside

  • 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

Look inside

  • 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

Improve processes

  • 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 innovation

  • 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

Overcoming Obstacles

  • 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

And finally

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.

 

The Benefits of a Suggestion Scheme and How to Start


Part 1

A lot of the time, we are asked, what are the main considerations of setting up an ideas programme? What should be considered and what are the benefits? This two part post will give you some pointers.

The Importance of Involving Employees

People, both in teams and as individuals, always have been and always will be the source of creativity, innovation and improvement. The harnessing of this talent is crucial to the success and growth of any organisation. Increased competition and demand for improved customer service means that managers have to consider how they meet increasing demands without increasing costs. They have to utilise existing resources fully. There is therefore a need to proactively encourage employees to generate ideas for innovation and improvement.

Advantages of Involving Employees Continue reading

Employee Suggestion Program Musts


Today’s guest post is written by Susan M Heathfield

The pitfalls of an ill-conceived employee suggestion program are multiple, legendary and most frequently – avoidable. A carefully constructed employee suggestion program that is launched with organizational commitment, clarity and ongoing communication can positively impact your bottom line and your employee motivation and enthusiasm. An ill-conceived, hastily launched, undefined employee suggestion program can turn people off and generate ill will, cynicism and misunderstanding.

#1  Does Your Company Need an Employee Suggestion Program? 

Before launching an employee suggestion program, consider your corporate culture. Are you currently receiving fresh and thoughtful ideas? Are employee suggestions already percolating to the surface at staff meetings and in casual conversation? If so, maybe more informal methods for cultivating new ideas are warranted rather than a full-blown employee suggestion program. Continue reading

The Real Recipe for Innovation


Today’s guest post is written by Holly Green

When I talk to business leaders, I always ask about the most difficult challenges they face day in and day out. Increasingly, I’m hearing about how hard it is to innovate on a consistent basis.

This anecdotal evidence is now being supported by a recent McKinsey Global Survey that polled more than 2,200 senior executives around the globe on the challenges of managing innovation.

Eighty-four percent of the executives who responded said they consider innovation to be very or extremely important to their companies’ growth strategies. Yet, despite their emphasis on the importance of innovation, many of those executives feel that their companies are not doing a good job on following through on innovation as a strategic imperative. Continue reading

Undercover Boss, is it really a surprise?


Every once in a while a television programme is made which captures my interest. Over the past few weeks, I have been watching the Channel 4 series Undercover Boss intently and it really has become ‘must watch’ TV for me on a Tuesday night.

For those who have never seen the show, the premise is that a senior manager from an organisation spends a week, in disguise, working within the business to get a feel of what is happening at the ‘coalface’. They then report back to the board and make changes to the business, but not before they invite a selection of staff they have met during the week to the head office for all to be revealed and given a reward of some sort for all their hard work. Continue reading

The Brainstorming process – problem solving, team-building and more


The brainstorming technique for problem-solving, team-building and creative process

Brainstorming with a group of people is a powerful technique. Brainstorming creates new ideas, solves problems, motivates and develops teams. Brainstorming motivates because it involves members of a team in the bigger management issues, and it gets a team working together.

However, brainstorming is not simply a random activity. Brainstorming needs to be structured and it follows brainstorming rules. The brainstorming process is described below, for which you will need a flip-chart or alternative. This is crucial, as brainstorming needs to involve the team, which means that everyone must be able to see what’s happening. Brainstorming places a significant burden on the facilitator to manage the process, people’s involvement and sensitivities, and then to manage the follow-up actions. Use brainstorming well and you will see excellent results in improving the organisation, performance and developing the team. Continue reading

Why is management support crucial for the success of your ideas programme?


The stronger and more active management support, the stronger and more active the suggestion/recognition scheme becomes.

How can leaders/managers demonstrate support?

Leaders/ managers should be involved in setting goals and targets for the suggestion scheme and ensuring these are communicated within the organisation. The goals and targets for the suggestion scheme should link with those of the organisation.

Involvement in recognition events; actively encouraging employees to participate in the programme, ensuring regular reports on the programme are included in team briefing. Continue reading