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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Employee Suggestion Program Checklist [2.10.1c11]

Research has shown that successful employee suggestions programs are those that have clearly defined:
  • Rewards
  • Procedures
  • Communication

Ground Rules for Effectiveness

Management should:
  • Determine what topics can be covered. Examples are quality improvement; identifying funding streams; employee morale; organizational policies; and improved work methods, processes, utilities, or tools.
  • Be specific about goals.
  • Communicate guidelines and procedures.
  • Assign an overseer to move the process along and keep the program visible.
  • Include an evaluation process that determines the merit of a suggestion.
  • Give credibility to the process by including a senior manager as an advocate for the process and to sit on a “Suggestion Review” committee.
  • Keep employees updated on the progress of their suggestions throughout the process.
  • Identify a reward or recognition for an implemented suggestion.
The employee suggestion process should:
  • Emphasize quality, not quantity;
  • Have a “Suggestion Review” committee;
  • Provide timely feedback and updates on progress in the system;
  • Supply private feedback if the suggestion is rejected and public acknowledgement if the suggestion is accepted;
  • Include a timeline for implementation for approved suggestions;
  • Offer recognition that is organization-wide; and
  • Handle suggestions that are specific to a person’s job through another means, such as a meeting with the supervisor.
The employee’s suggestion must:
  • Present a problem/situation and propose a solution;
  • Supply details on implementation, not just a basic idea or theme;
  • Explain how the suggestion will affect the organization;
  • Provide a draft projection on labor, materials, capital, equipment, or other resources needed;
  • Outline the individuals and/or departments that must be involved to implement the suggestion;
  • Illustrate how the suggestion can affect the organization;
  • Provide information or analysis on cost or savings benefit and how the cost saving could be measured; and
  • Not be anonymous.
The Suggestion Review Team should:
  • Be made up of members who represent a cross-section of the organization, such as administration, managers, and front line staff, plus any topic expert needed;
  • Meet regularly, such as every 2 months, or as part of a regularly scheduled meeting;
  • Distribute suggestions in advance;
  • Rotate members off the committee, maintaining a mix of new and experienced members; and
  • Include the employee who made the suggestion as a temporary member.
Basic concepts of rewards and recognition:
  • If the suggestion is implemented and results in cost savings, consider awarding a percentage of the savings. To determine the true savings, “measure” the process before the change to make sure you use the same verifiable measures over a period of time.
  • If the suggestion can’t be measured, use a standard award, such as a monetary or gift item. Examples include gift or dinner certificates, an organizational logo product, or a lunch.
  • Often, the most valued reward is organizational recognition. Provide recognition at staff meetings, annual meetings, in staff newsletters, and through other communication vehicles.

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