I recently read a very interesting article called "How to Get Employees to Generate Great Ideas." It was especially prescient as we have recently taken this approach here at Harvard Business Services, Inc. and our employees have been providing us with many great ideas, which we have put into place. Dr. David G. Javitch says, “Many entrepreneurs incorrectly assume that they are the only ones who can generate a new idea or approach. Many times this is true. But empowering others in the company to do the same will not only increase employee interest and motivation to perform at their peak, but it will also lead to a more successful organization.” Here are five suggestions from Dr. David G. Javitch:
Make sure senior management gets it. Meet with your senior managers and emphasize the need for opening channels of communication up and down the hierarchy. The need for gathering input from the people who are performing the tasks is crucial.
Encourage employees to question the status quo. Don't just pay lip service. Demonstrate that you want employee feedback. Be the first one to examine a process, policy, human capital allotment or procedure and raise a question as to its functionality and effectiveness. In front of your employees, state that you are open to constructive suggestions that will improve the system, its efficiency, and its cost, even with fewer available resources.
Plan meetings specifically for challenging the status quo. With praise, e-mail, voice mail and even simple gifts, rewardemployees who come up with creative ideas.
Recognize employees when their ideas are implemented. Make it a big deal and make sure everyone knows which individual or team was responsible for the innovation.
Create diverse groups to discuss ideas. Include employees with differing perspectives, educational backgrounds, and experiences to share ideas and question the status quo.
So take the plunge and get your employees involved in your business; you never know who might have one of the brightest ideas that will make your business a successful one.