When Management Ignores Employee Suggestions - What Can Your Firm Do?

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President of The Discovery Group

Our research shows that 7 out of 10 employees believe that management does not act on employee suggestions. Here's why this is a problem.

Good Suggestions Slip Through the Cracks

One of the major lessons of the quality improvement movement has been that employees who actually perform the work usually have very good suggestions for improving the work. Ignoring their ideas is a sure prescription for inefficiency and reduced profitability.

Employees Lose Trust in Managemen

How can employees trust the judgement of senior management when their good suggestions are ignored? Without this trust, their motivation and commitment to the organization will surely decline.

Employees Feel They are Not Respected

Ignoring their suggestions is a slap in the face to employees. In time, employees reciprocate by showing a lack of respect to management.

Employees Begin to Withhold Useful Suggestions

I have often heard employees say, "I know they are throwing money down the drain, but there's no way in hell I would tell management how to improve things. They would only ignore me." Organizations with this type of climate are destined to fail.

WHAT MANAGEMENT CAN DO

Skip the Middles

It is very easy for good suggestions to get lost in the hierarchy. Employees become frustrated when their supervisors do not pass along their suggestions to senior management. Senior management should circumvent the bureaucracy by conducting face-to-face meetings with employees. Meetings such as "bagels-with-the-President" and "brown-bag-lunches with the CEO" can offer rich opportunities for ferreting out useful ideas.

Get Rid of the "Suggestion Box"

There is no better way to alienate employees than to say, "If you have any ideas, just stick 'em in the box." Employees should be treated as adults and given the opportunity to communicate their ideas in person.

Set Realistic Expectations

Management needs to make it clear that not every suggestion can be used, but that all suggestions are welcome.

Provide Recognition

Public recognition or cash awards for good suggestions can be very motivating to employees. However, great care should be taken in managing such a program. I have seen these types of programs lead to resentment among employees.

Proactively Promote the Proliferation of Suggestions

Management should make it clear to employees that providing suggestions is an expected part of everyone's job.

Close the Loop

Employees need to know that their suggestions are not being ignored. It is important for management to communicate to employees when their suggestions are being implemented. Doing so will increase the probability that employees will continue to make useful suggestions.


Contact Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D., "The Survey Doctor"
President THE DISCOVERY GROUP
9 Blair Circle Sharon, MA 02067
Voice - 781-784-4367 Fax - 781-784-6450
E-mail - BKatcher@DiscoverySurveys.com Web - www.DiscoverySurveys.com

You may like these other stories...

With tomorrow being Tax Day, you might see some procrastinators at your office filling out forms, printing out paperwork, or getting last-minute tax advice from their accountant so they can meet the IRS’s filing...
You can read volumes on how to manage an accounting practice. But if you want the quick version, just read the following four points. Everything else is just commentary.  (These points come out of the 1997 book, The...
There is a growing trend of accountants moving away from traditional compliance work to more advisory work. Client demand is there, but it is up to the accountants to capitalize on that. What should accountants' roles be...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.