Do you have an employee suggestion system? Email
Colorado Green NOW
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 07:00 AM


Everyemployee suggestion boxone in a green industry business knows that one thing you always have is a steady supply of problems. Some are easy to solve, others are not. One blazing flash of the obvious is to ask for suggestions from those closest to the problem – fellow team members.
Vast research has shown that employees’ suggestions save or make companies and organizations billions of dollars each year. IBM launched ThinkPlace in 2005, a website where employees around the world are encouraged to suggest innovations. Through thousands of ideas, IBM saved or made millions of dollars.

Short of a launching a new website, your business could start a suggestion system by downloading an app such as SnapSuggest™. It is user-friendly and convenient. To use it, all a person does is pull out their iPhone and make their suggestion. It gives everyone an immediate and positive outlet to voice thoughts and opinions. Plus, they can submit their ideas anonymously. The app also allows the user to view and comment on suggestions made by other employees and see management’s responses.

If you are going to start a suggestion system, keep these 3 things in mind to make it successful.

  1. Communicate with everyone the areas that need help. Don’t expect people to be mind-readers. Instead, share specific areas where the company is experiencing difficulty, and actively use an employee suggestion system. People closest to the problems often have the best solutions.
  2. If you establish the company-wide suggestion system, stay with it. I often find companies don’t have a suggestion system that consistently works. One reason for this is they did not create a culture where people at all levels work together to solve problems. On the other hand, the most successful work environments I have seen foster regular interaction and collaboration where there is ongoing communication within and between departments. Without that kind of synergy, it is hard to keep a successful stream of good suggestions coming in on a regular basis.
  3. Implement a meaningful rewards system. It is critical to reinforce the behavior you want. Recognition is the one most recommended and preferred form of reward because it provides something very special called “emotional income.” Recognition is more powerful than monetary reward because once the money has been spent, the effect quickly wears off.

Once people are recognized, offer other meaningful rewards that might include:

  • Gifts such as gift cards for all types of necessities or luxuries;
  • Perks such as a designated parking place for a month or extra vacation days;
  • Financial rewards in the form of cash, bonus, higher salary because they are universally applicable and appreciated.

Excerpted from a recent article by Tom Borg, a business expert who works with small and mid-size green industry companies. He helps them improve profitability by building internal communications and trust levels. 734-404-5909 or [email protected] or

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Despite millennial growth in the workplace, Boomers are the ones spending on their homes
New workforce generation, new business model?
Irrigation System in a Box gives teachers hands-on skills
Repurposing is winter work for JKJ Lawn Sprinkler

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