GLASGOW, Scotland, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Like many organisations, N.E. Lincolnshire Council had various employee ideas and online suggestion box processes as part of their employee engagement and Change Management strategy. Typically these would be e-mail based or very basic discussion forums. However participation was low and such systems that existed were not interactive, nor particularly user-friendly. And most importantly, they did not allow for prioritisation and decision-making driven by consensus nor did they creatively address and encourage the many benefits of workplace democracy.
"The message is clear: any employee Ideas and stakeholder engagement system need to be owned by the participants, not the CEO or senior Directors. Ideas thrive in the right climate. But that employee engagement environment needs to be characterised by being 'bottom-up', not 'top-down'; more a democracy than an autocratic organisational structure. Trust is very important in this context and is also clearly related to feedback, acknowledgement and recognition. If Trust is not enabled and promoted as part of the process of change management, then efforts will largely be in vain." Says Jim Sproat, CEO of OrganisedFeedback.
An employee suggestion box solution should involve employees (and senior managers) providing metrics and participation measurement - overall and by Department or Directorate - and therefore improve it. Participation is not only desired in itself, it is a metric for employee engagement and that is a high priority if 'more is to be done with less'; and through that discernible commitment, better services delivered.
So, in any such Ideas management software you need to know the dynamic facts. For example, how many people are involved? More this month than last? What is that as a proportion of all employees? Just how many suggestions or Ideas have been submitted this month or to date? Which ideas have most comments, and how many is that? Which departments are most innovative? What are the most popular themes? How many have been implemented, with what time and money savings made?
Of course in any online ideas suggestion box you need the activity reports to be automated and sent to key people easily and automatically. Participants also need to be able to see what is going on too. Jim Sproat CEO of OrganisedFeedback stated that, "User reports and personal menus and Blogs to acknowledge, encourage and publicise effort are important. For many conventional, more static systems, that is not easy, or even possible".
In conclusion, there is an obvious point to be made about employee engagement and change management. It is a Group phenomenon. Success is about Teamwork. About making people feel part of the process. It is that which gives employees a stake in the outcome. It is the team's and stakeholders' ideas which lead to success but initial vision or ideas often need to be refined, qualified, developed and improved through incremental change. "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration" is still as true now as in Thomas Edison's day.
John Robinson, USP Ventures +44(0)7773-818183