It is a point often overlooked in Reward and Recognition schemes, but encouraging employee suggestions can result in the generation of a wealth of creative and valuable ideas. Is your company receiving enough (if any) innovative ideas from your employees? If not, surely it’s time to think about how to encourage this. Employees are an extremely valuable tool in idea generation, as they often see possible improvements from the front line that managers perhaps cannot.  Involving employees in improving company processes is an excellent way to make them feel engaged and loyal. They will want your organisation to do well, and will feel that they are contributing to its’ success.

Any suggestion scheme will require guidelines to ensure its success. The focus must be on quality over quantity – you don’t want to end up with hundreds of suggestions which are all completely unfeasible. Set guidelines around specific aspects of the company where suggestions will be welcome; cost saving ideas and process improvements for example. This will help ensure that the suggestions received are sensible and well thought out. Maybe even ask employees to include a brief implementation plan and the associated costs – whilst bearing in mind that the suggestion process should be simple and relatively quick.

Arguably most importantly, employees need to be recognised and rewarded for their suggestions. According to HR Magazine, 6 in 10 employees said they would already be coming up with more creative suggestions if they were rewarded for them. HR Magazine also suggests that recognition would be the ultimate reward for 39% of employees, and financial rewards top the charts with 45% of employees. Rewards can be linked to the suggestion itself, if it goes ahead. If the suggestion represents a cost saving, perhaps the employee could receive a cut of the amount saved. But in many cases, the idea being implemented will be the biggest reward of all.
Finally, make sure the suggestion scheme is promoted effectively! The communication should be ongoing, and should make sure employees are aware of how the scheme works and how to make a suggestion. If the idea is implemented, ensure this positive news is communicated across the company – this will ultimately encourage staff to make further suggestions.