What do a top-rated airline and a furniture manufacturer in Michigan have in common?  They asked for it!  They asked their employees to contribute new ideas, and saved millions!  A survey conducted by the Employee Involvement Association found that 299 members reported saving $2 billion by implementing employee suggestions.  American Airlines spends $15 million annually on a suggestion program that saves them $55 million.  Haworth, Inc., the Michigan-based furniture manufacturer, saved $6 million in  when 75% of their employees contributed new ideas, and nearly half were implemented  (Source:  John Naisbitt’s Trend Letter).

Here are six tips to make your own employee suggestion program profitable:

  1. Make it easy for employees to respond to your request.  Use pre-printed forms and an easy-to-access drop box for replies.
  2. Ask for suggestions.  Let your employees know that you truly value their opinions and ideas.
  3. Respond to each suggestion as soon as possible.  Let the employee know whether the idea will be adopted, and if not, why not.
  4. Maintain an awareness of the program by placing periodic reminders in your newsletter, and publishing those ideas selected for implementation.
  5. Share the profit or savings generated with the contributor of the idea.  Award the contributor a one-time bonus, or pay them a percentage of the funds saved or earned during the first year of implementation.
  6. Make everyone who contributes eligible for prizes and/or other forms of recognition.

Write and tell us your “Quick Tip” success story. If you have a clever and successful tip, we’d like to hear it. If we select your idea to use as a quick tip, we’ll print your idea online or in an upcoming Quick tips calendar or book… Plus we will send you a special gift.