Experiences of our conference…Paul Sloane


Paul Sloane

Paul Sloane, one of the keynote speakers at our conference has written a blog post of his time at our conference.

It is a very good piece that captures exactly the essence of our event, take a look and see what you think.

The blog and the rest of the resources on Paul’s website can be found here.  

 

 

Introducing…Conference 2012


One of the highlights of the calendar at ideasUK is our annual conference and awards dinner. This year the event takes place in Bristol on the 7th and 8th November and we can honestly say that although this is our 26th conference this year the line up is the best we have ever had. Continue reading

Key Drivers of Successful Implementation of an Employee Suggestion-Driven Improvement Program


I was sent a link to a great peace of work by Harvard University by a friend of ideasUK, Paul Sloane (Destination Innovation) and thought I would share, it is a very interesting piece of work that would be a great starting point to anyone setting up an ideas programme.

Here is an abstract from the paper:

Service organizations frequently implement improvement programs to increase quality. These programs often rely on employees’ suggestions about improvement opportunities. Organizations face a trade-off with such suggestion-driven improvement programs. On one hand, the improvement literature recommends that managers focus organizational resources on surfacing a large number of problems, prioritizing these, and selecting a small set of high priority ones for solution efforts.

The theory is that soliciting a large number of ideas from employees will surface a set of higher priority problems than would have been identified with a less extensive search. Scarce organizational resources can be allocated to resolving the set of problems that provide the greatest improvement in performance. We call this an “analysis-oriented” approach. On the other hand, managers can allocate improvement resources to addressing problems raised by frontline staff, regardless of priority ranking. This “action-oriented” approach enables more resources to be spent on resolving problems because prioritization receives less attention. To our knowledge, this tradeoff between analysis and action in process improvement programs has not been empirically examined.

To fill this gap, we randomly selected 20 hospitals to implement an 18-month long employee suggestion-driven improvement program-58 work areas participated. Our study finds that an action-oriented approach was associated with higher perceived improvement in performance, while an analysis-oriented approach was not.

Our study suggests that the analysis-oriented approach negatively impacted employees’ perceptions of improvement because it solicited, but did not act on, employees’ ideas. We discuss the conditions under which this might be the case.

To download the full paper, follow this link

Full credit for this research goes to Anita L. Tucker and Sara J. Singer and taken from HBS Working Knowledge website.

Of course, ideasUK can help in your quest in launching the ideal engagement programme for your organisation. Contact us today for more information.

Employee Engagement, Greater Productivity, Better Performance


Thursday 5th July, Cardiff.

Join us in Cardiff for our next FREE event!

Two half day sessions 9.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 4.30

Session format:

• Introduction and objectives of the session
• Overview of employee engagement, staff involvement and suggestion schemes Continue reading

Call for speakers 2012


It is that time of the year again when the thoughts of all the team at ideasUK are focused on our annual conference.

Have you ever wanted to deliver a workshop or keynote at an International Conference?

YES? 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

Why YOU should join ideasUK today!


IdeasUK is a membership organisation that is run by its members for its members. We are the only non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom that is dedicated to Ideas Management and Employee Engagement.

It is our firm belief that in these challenging times, quality ideas can significantly help a business become leaner, as well as helping the front line staff make a real difference to the overall objectives of the organisation. Our 2011 Annual Survey highlighted the following benefits amongst our membership. Continue reading

Recognition needs to be Appropriate, Public and Timely by Tom Dupre


Recognition needs to be Appropriate, Public and Timely to be successful in its basic goal. And that goal is to promote behaviours you want to see repeated. Let us look at each of these attributes separately and then collectively.

Appropriate: This topic usually gets a polarizing argument of either money or non-cash rewards. Historically the predominant form of recognition was cash. When organizations benchmarked with those who had suggestion schemes/programs more often than not they would come away with the example of using cash as rewards. Usually the amount of the award was a percentage of the savings over a period of time.

Cash was challenged as a reward mechanism when the Quality initiatives of the 80’s became popular promoting team work to achieve results with no monetary awards. So began the Cash/No Cash debates that exist till today. Cash awards have been modified over the years by reducing maximum payments, percentages of savings and the time period for amount calculations. Note Continue reading

ideasUK shares Secrets to Successful Ideas Schemes


What benefits does having a suggestion scheme bring, to both employers and employees?

The benefits to the employee are that it gives them a voice in the business and allows them to have an outlet for their creativity and to make a change to their working environment. For the employer it encourages a culture of innovation that can lead to sharing of best practice and a reduction in costs to the business therefore more efficient working and increased employee satisfaction.

It is well documented that organisations who listen to employees and act on suggestions developed become an employer of choice with a more motivated and happy workforce.

What is the best way to incentivise staff to take part in a scheme?

There are two schools of thought around incentivising staff to take part in the programme. Old school thinking was that you had to reward or ‘bribe’ people to take part in the scheme; however, this encouraged wrong behaviours within the organisation. In a well managed ideas programme, employees feel proud of the fact that they are taking part in something which can benefit both themselves and the organisation. Continue reading