Employee Suggestion Box: How To Get Started
If you are trying to improve employee engagement, setting up a suggestion box can be a great way to get your employees involved.
Employees can use employee suggestion boxes to bring professional and workplace concerns to the management's attention.
When implemented correctly, a suggestion box can help you transform the company culture by acting as a source of real-time feedback.
It also motivates employees to work harder, knowing that they have a say in what happens next. So if you were uncertain whether to have a suggestion box or not, read on to find out why you should have one!
Why Do You Need An Employee Suggestion Box?
It is not always easy to give honest feedback at work.
More than a quarter of respondents to the Cornell National Social Survey say they would like to give companies feedback but refrain from doing so because of fear of repercussions. So employees naturally try to tailor their feedback so that it doesn't offend or make anyone uncomfortable.
As a result, companies are often stuck with outdated methods and stagnant policies.
While a suggestion box isn't the most formal method of obtaining employee feedback, it offers a few perks over other engagement methods.
For example, suggestion boxes are generally easier to access than surveys or focus groups. A suggestion box will help more employees weigh in on specific issues or concerns without requiring additional time from management.
Suggestion boxes also allow employees to have a voice within the company. Because the entire process is anonymous, suggestion boxes give people the freedom to provide honest and genuine input. Hence, offering your employees a safe space to share their thoughts and ideas can go a long way towards finding your company's strengths and weaknesses.
Tips For Setting Up A Suggestion Box For Employees
As you learned how a suggestion box for employees could help you, here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Ensure Privacy
The privacy of the suggestion should be up to the employee. An employee may not want to use their real name when providing anonymous feedback, especially if they feel the management will scrutinize their ideas. Offering anonymous comment sections can allow employees to share opinions, even if they don't want to use their real names.
Employees can have the option to provide their name if they want to have credit for an idea. Having their name attached to their comments gives them confidence that it will be recognized if their criticism is useful.
2. Tailor The Suggestion Form
When you ask for feedback from your employees, it's important to give them a way to submit their ideas, questions, and concerns. That's why it's a good idea to have an employee suggestion form and tailor the form based on the type of feedback you're asking for.
You want your employees to be able to give you specific examples of what they like and don't like so that you can address those issues in the future. Therefore, it will make it easier for your employees to provide specific feedback.
3. Allocate A Place
Employee suggestion boxes should be convenient, easily accessible, and secure. Avoid placing an employee suggestion box in an area where it could be easily tampered with or removed without being seen. A secure location and a physical lock can keep the box safe and sound.
If a company uses an online suggestion box, finding a link to it should be easy. An online suggestion box can create an anonymous way for employees to submit ideas. Still, you may need to set up a separate shared drive or employee page on a website.
4. Set A Review Schedule
Once your employee suggestion box is established, you can regularly review submissions with your team. By establishing a system to periodically review employee feedback and acting on it, you show that you value employee feedback.
Some companies create a schedule for how often they plan to review submissions, such as weekly or bi-weekly. It's also important to let employees know about the review schedule to understand their feedback is being heard.
5. Incentivize Winning Ideas
Reward your employees when their ideas help to improve the business. Even though it is an anonymous suggestion, they should still be recognized, so if you want to give the reward to a team, do it.
Establishing an open-door policy and rewarding innovation can help instill a sense of ownership among employees. It will make them feel appreciated for their efforts, resulting in better employee engagement and overall satisfaction.
Disadvantages of Employee Suggestion Boxes
Though you might get some brilliant suggestions from your employees using a suggestion box, this feedback collection method has some potential drawbacks. Let's look at some of those!
1. Negative Unconstructive Feedbacks
If you have an employee suggestion box, make sure that it's a safe space for employees to share their ideas. Otherwise, it can quickly become a place for employees to complain without offering any real solutions. This kind of negative feedback is not what you want to hear.
To combat the negativity of employee suggestion boxes, you can direct your employees to offer actionable solutions instead of just complaining about an issue.
2. Slow Process
An employee suggestion box can also be time-consuming. Instead of reviewing every suggestion, a company may decide to prioritize their employees' ideas by putting only the most effective ones on the roadmap. While this will save management a lot of time, it does not imply that the company doesn't care about its employees. Some processes, while slow, gradually show their effectiveness.
3. Less Involvement
All employees will not have the same level of enthusiasm for offering suggestions, which is okay when building a collaborative workplace. Some people will be more open to sharing ideas, while others may need encouragement or even rewards.
Employees who are uninterested in offering suggestions may stop sharing ideas once they realize their efforts are not valued.
4. Lack of Action
Suppose you don't take action on the ideas that are presented. In that case, you send across the message that you don't really care about your employees' opinions, and they'll likely stop sharing.
Managers should keep employees engaged by reviewing past suggestions and noting the ones that were implemented or partially implemented, so staffers know their ideas will be acted upon.
5. Loss of Credit
It is important to recognize and reward employees for good ideas. But, this can lead to issues if you do not have the right resources or time to execute their idea. Employees may feel that your company took credit for their idea and thus not be as open to sharing them in the future.
It's up to you to give your employees a sense of ownership over their jobs, and that starts with making sure they understand the big picture. You can do this by periodically giving them an update on what you're doing to improve the business and answer any questions they have about it.
Employees can offer their ideas, feelings, and suggestions confidentially. It gives employees the impression that their company is paying attention to them.