"Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets." While this quote's origin is a bit of a mystery, its wisdom is transparent. We stick with existing systems because they're familiar, and most of us in business have more to do than fits in a day. Yet if we get too comfortable with the way things are, we miss the golden opportunity to innovate and advance. Many times, the best ideas come from the people working in that system. What does your business do to collect ideas from employees for workplace innovation and improvement?
It's worth the time to think about more efficient ways of asking employees for ideas to improve the systems in which they work, ranging from HR to Operations. More importantly, we're going to save you time by sharing two easy steps on collecting these ideas.
The Days are Just Packed
The average workday is a blur for most employees, management, and owners at any business or organization. So it's understandable if collecting feedback gets lost in the day-to-day hustle. You work heroically during the week -- and sometimes on weekends -- to lead your business or department. So finding the time to examine your entire system sounds exhausting.
One study from Accenture found that over 70% of organizations do not offer a platform for collecting employees' ideas. Many organizations are not structured to listen carefully in-person to ideas, especially those that seem outside an existing system.
Take Steps Toward Innovation
Sure, there's the effort required to collect ideas from employees and engage them. Still, the opportunity cost of not listening and potentially innovating your system for more efficiency is a greater time-spend.
Adopt a Digital System to Collect Ideas
The classic suggestion box remains strong as a concept. But we think it's past time to ditch the physical box and go digital. Imagine an employee knowing that when a moment of inspiration strikes, especially those based on her daily experience, all she needs to do is send a text message to your employee communication phone line? With a digital communication system like VoiceSifter in place, that employee knows her idea will be heard because you can respond in real-time while her idea gets recorded on the VoiceSifter dashboard for easy sharing with others.
Engage with Your System (Use It!)
Employees might not offer ideas because they feel writing a note in an anonymous suggestion box is like dropping their thoughts into a black hole. That type of conversation goes in one direction. Plus, it takes vulnerability to risk sharing an idea, especially ideas about improving systems from upstream down, and employees want to know you are listening. By promoting your feedback collection system and merely responding with regularity, you acknowledge their ideas. VoiceSifter's communication text message line keeps the conversation open so you can follow up later to report progress to that employee. Not only will she be encouraged to continue sharing ideas, but she will be more engaged in daily work while feeling like a valued team member.
Anyone can report a problem. It's as easy as pointing to the spilled milk on the floor. But if you give your employees a digital platform and encourage them to respond, then you'll get ideas for solutions to challenges that can improve entire systems. Because maybe there's a better way to clean up that milk by changing what caused the spill to happen in the first place.