“Where Did My Idea Go?”: Employee Engagement Starts with Being Heard

You’re a motivated employee, a real go-getter, deeply engaged in your company and committed to its success. That’s why you take the time and effort to think of ways to improve procedures and policies.

Voice your ideas
You’ve even written a few down, or maybe twenty, and dropped them in that suggestion box in the break room. The one with the rusted padlock that looks like it hasn’t been opened since the Johnson administration. Andrew Johnson.

When weeks turn into months and you haven’t heard a thing, you’re likely to feel that your ideas aren’t all that welcome. It can’t help having an effect on your engagement and motivation.

So what can you do to get your ideas heard?

Start by assuming the best—that the system for receiving employee suggestions is broken. The company probably went a good five years without a single suggestion, so they stopped checking the box. There’s probably a note in there asking if the reel-to-reel music system can be replaced with an eight-track.

Even if you have an online or email suggestion system for employees, there’s an excellent chance it’s suffering from benign neglect. Most people don’t suggest changes, of course—they just grouse to each other. So there’s an excellent chance that no one has seen your outstanding ideas.

A company that’s serious about employee engagement needs an effective system for gathering employee feedback, including specific ideas for improvements. And such a system must be responsive, letting employees know at MINIMUM that their comments have been received and appreciated.

So the first order of business for an employee who cares is to fix that system.

Go to the person in charge of quality management or workplace culture. If this is not clear, start at Human Resources. Explain that you are interested in offering constructive suggestions to help the company succeed but are not sure your ideas have been getting through. Ask for clarification of the best procedure for submitting ideas, and suggest at minimum that each idea get a personal acknowledgment.

Once the system is clarified (or created), test it with your best idea. If it works, heap praise on the person who made it happen, and suggest that employees receive an open invitation to submit their own ideas.

Helping your company open up channels for employee suggestions may be the best suggestion you ever make!

2 Responses to ““Where Did My Idea Go?”: Employee Engagement Starts with Being Heard”

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