What's the going rate for a good idea? A great idea? We used to offer a penny for your thoughts, but I'm going to suggest that it's time to up the ante. A good idea is now worth $1 and a great idea is worth $5.
Recent surveys confirm that employees feel left out of the equation when it comes to input. But who's closest to your customer? Who has their finger on the pulse of your operation? Who knows what goes on when you're not there? Your employees, of course.
Don't let all that customer knowledge go to waste. Start to collect valuable insights about your business and improve morale by asking your staff for ideas. Encourage creativity. Be open-minded. Be receptive. You'll be amazed at the gems you'll find.
Implement a suggestion box program
Ask your staff to submit suggestions about anything and everything having to do with your operation. There's no limit to the number of suggestions an employee can submit. Each week, collect the submissions placed in the Suggestion Box. Award $1 for every Good Idea, and $5 for every Great Idea.
"Great Ideas" move on the Quarterly Awards. Each quarter, select the best Great Idea from the weekly submissions and award it $50. These winners are now eligible for the Annual Awards. At your annual party or awards banquet, announce the best idea of the year, and award it $250.
How To Do It
- Build a Suggestion Box. Affix an oversized color copy of a $1 bill and a $5 bill on the front.
- Download and print our Rules of the Game. Put them in the next paycheck envelopes, distribute them at Pre-Shift Briefings or put them in employee mailboxes. Also post the Rules of the Game next to the Suggestion Box.
- Download and print a big stack of our suggestion forms. Place them near the Suggestion Box, at bus stations, the hostess stand, in the employee locker room, and anywhere else a great idea might be born.
- Collect the ideas from the Suggestion Box and review them at your weekly Management Meeting. Decide what the criteria for Good Ideas and Great Ideas are, and then vote on the submissions.
- Post the winning ideas and give credit to your creative employees. You may even want to announce the Quarterly winners and their Great Ideas in your Employee Newsletter.