Employees have some of the greatest ideas, but the problem is getting them to give those ideas up!
At times, it seems you have to seduce the ideas from them, like pulling teeth!
Your employees can have the best ideas for helping your company grow. It’s only logical; employees deal with customer frustrations first hand. They have a front row seat for regularly occurring problems. They draw success from the jaws of failure. They know the client’s needs in detail, every day.
What your employees experience daily are the things that management has forgotten, or top brass may have never seen.
So why are the greatest ideas from employees failing to make it into practice? Perhaps they are gun shy!
For example, an incompetent manager shuts down an employee with a great idea. The manager might have forgotten the incident, but the employee never will. You can guarantee that the employee will never recommend anything again.
Managers that are smart enough to recognize a brilliant proposal must make sure they encourage future ideas, even if they do not use every idea.
Why does an employee feel rejection?
- Pride and embarrassment
Most people are afraid to take chances. Even if they have never had an idea shot down before, they have real concerns. More significantly, they are afraid of looking stupid or do something they are not comfortable doing. In addition, they fear that they might not be able to give details of their plan to others, or answer tough questions that they are not prepared to answer.
The greatest human fear is public speaking—more than death. That is right; some folks would die, than speak in front of people!
- Employees see it as a waste of time
Some managers train employees to accumulate concepts. They hold a separate meeting and review a list of ideas. Then, the employee is out of the loop. Is that helpful? No!
- Employees do not see “the big picture”
In many companies, employees are not enlightened about business strategy. They have no idea of the direction of the company, so there no occasion to provide good ideas. Maybe they have a good way to pay vendors faster, but that idea does not support the company. Identifying future trouble spots based on payment history might improve retention, only if the employee understands the overall business strategy.
- Ideas are downright lousy
Truth is; most ideas are bad. A manager’s mission is to sort through a mountain of useless ideas with the desire to find some good ones—and even get one that is great. This is true for any employee, from managers and human resources to the brand new hire in billing. Chances are high that as an idea makes its way up the chain, management will change, modify or even stop it. Employees not accustomed to this environment may take it personally, but rejection should encourage—not inhibit—more ideas.
- The truth about ideas
Getting the best ideas from your employees depends on several things:
- Who you hire
- How you treat employees
- Your expectations
- Their expectations
- How they are rewarded
- The amount of information you provide
Does your company drive innovation? Are rewards public or private? Do your managers think they know everything? Can you share business strategy and goals with your employees?
- There are no wrong answers!
The pressure from competition—both known and unfamiliar—will have you wondering the way to get and keep the best talent. It may not happen overnight. You have to put some time into figuring out the solution.
You don’t have to seduce employees to contribute great ideas. Becoming a company that breaks down the barriers that prevent terrific ideas from seeing the light of day will put you far ahead in the battle for business excellence and profit.