Why Employee Suggestion Boxes Donít Work
First, Iíll start with why some employee feedback programs donít work:
* Feedback systems are often black boxes. Ideas and suggestions either never get seen or fall on deaf ears. If you arenít willing face the brutal facts and take immediate corrective action, then DONíT ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS.
* Feedback received isnít timely. If the system is designed to gather information, but itís not noticed or acted on immediately, then the problem either already did its damage or has grown into a bigger problem.
* Suggestions are poorly defined. Too often, employee feedback systems are only used to vent personal issues about peers, managers and customers and donít identify the core operation or process that is broken.
* Lack of accountability. Most systems donít provide any feedback loops to ensure corrective measures are identified, implemented and standardized.
* Feedback is ad-hoc, not systematic. If you donít make it a priority everyday, or every week Ė then feedback systems wonít stick long-term.
Now the good news. This doesnít have to be rocket science - here are a few tips to get an effective feedback system started:
* Make it a habit.
* Keep it anonymous.
* Make it about what, not about who.
* Good systems ask for feedback on corrective measures that will work; good systems are not just looking for complaints.
* Donít shoot the messenger - if you arenít ready to hear the brutal facts, then go to another website.
* Make sure the issues are visible so EVERYONE can weigh-in on what issues need addressing first.
* Never, ever stop! Itís continuous improvement.
* Offer rewards when improvements save the company time, energy and money. It only works if everyone has a stake in the outcome.
* When you listen - donít defend but keep an open ear and mind to what your people have to say.
Today more than ever we all need to work together to identify and solve the issues that are holding our performance back. Employees and owners can no longer look to the other for the answers - we need to work together to make our organizations and ourselves stronger, better and more effective.