Effective Staff Suggestion Systems To Change Your Company Culture

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Markets demand greater innovation. Customers have rising expectations. Your competitors are more nimble than ever before. You need to learn how to change company culture to boost your effectiveness.

You need new ideas, efficient processes, innovative products, valuable services, and more effective ways to build a strong future together. Where are you going to get them? Learn how to change company culture and you’ll find ideas by harnessing the power of your in-house talent.

Organizations can’t survive if managers must provide all the answers. Companies need a steady flow of ideas and solutions from those who are closest to the processes and the customers.You must learn how to change company culture and develop an atmosphere that actively solicits input from every level of your staff.

Fortunately, managers are more receptive to this approach than ever before. But how can you learn how to change company culture and transform the mindset of staff who were trained to “keep their mouths shut, lie low and just follow orders?” How can you encourage everyone on your team to share their best new ideas?

One technique is the “staff suggestion system,” a time-honored process with pre-printed forms for staff to write their ideas and with wooden boxes on the wall where they submit those ideas for consideration.

Many companies have tried this, but few can report real satisfaction with the number, consistency or quality of contributions. Even fewer can report widespread enthusiasm for their “suggestion” schemes at all. This is because they didn’t learn how to change company culture.

Here are six ideas you can implement immediately to make your approach to learning how to change company culture more effective:

1. Respond immediately to suggestions.

Be candid. When you are, your staff will realize you are serious in efforts to learn how to change company culture. If the answer to a suggestion is no, say no. If the answer is yes, state when staff will see implementation. If the answer is maybe, explain the issues and give a reliable date for reply.

One exception: Do not reply to obscene or abusive suggestions. A strong company culture has no place for such destructive “input.”

2. Respond to suggestions for all to see.

When one person makes a suggestion, she says what is on the minds of many. Reply to suggestions on a bulletin board, in a meeting, or by e-mail to all concerned. Thank the writer for making the contribution. This will demonstrate to staff you are working on learning how to change company culture for more openness.

3. Give prizes for the best suggestions – right away.

Many suggestion programs involve a multi-step process. Suggestions are collected. A committee sorts for “realistic” submissions. Managers appraise the cost savings and anticipated revenue from each. “Senior management” decides on the reward to be given. The “prize” is finally awarded.

The cycle-time for this process is often four weeks or more. In some cases the review is only once a quarter. Would you be inspired if you had to wait that long? This is not the way to learn how to change company culture.

Try this approach: Dedicate $1,200 to the project. Give away $100 every month for one year. Each month, give $50 to the best idea, $20 to the second best idea, and $10 each to the next three best suggestions.

In the first month, only a handful of staff may participate. Give out the money anyway. When employees realize you are serious about learning how to change company culture, their suggestions will get serious.

4. Establish categories for awards.

Categories help staff generate new ideas. Try these: ideas that can be implemented immediately, ideas for getting closer to customers, suggestions for cost savings or increasing revenue, ideas focusing on a specific theme, ideas that most dramatically challenge the current way of thinking, recommendations for the future of the business.

5. Prizes deserve publicity.

Make a big event when you give awards. One company uses “dollar bills” for each winning suggestion. In the center is the staff member who contributed. In the corners is the amount of money the suggestion earned. Surrounding the portrait is a description of the suggestion itself.

These “dollar bills” line the walls of the staff lounge and company cafeteria. The result is recognition for winners and a “culture-building” impact that keeps the suggestion system going strong all year long.

At the end of each year, total the number of suggestions received, acknowledge the winners rewarded and highlight the positive results. Then challenge your team to double the volume of suggestions in the coming year. While you’re at it, double the volume of rewards. This will demonstrate commitment to learning how to change company culture.

6. Most important, implement suggestions quickly.

Act on what your staff suggests. Nothing demonstrates your commitment to this approach better than a staff suggestion recognized, rewarded and immediately put to work. Are there even more good ways to improve your company’s suggestion program? Sure there are. Got a suggestion? Learn how to change company culture and ideas will flow freely.

Key Learning Point To Learn How To Change Company Culture

It’s vital for any company to be continually infused with new ideas. Get your new ideas from those who are front-and-center. And reap the rewards of inspired employees and innovation! Learn how to change company culture and everyone will benefit.

Action Steps To Learn How To Change Company Culture

Attune your staff to a new way of thinking by learning how to change company culture. Develop a strategy that works in your company.  Maybe someone has a suggestion. If so, grab it and go! Ignite employee participation and you will learn how to change company culture.

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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.

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