Is Having a Suggestion Box at the Office a Good Idea?

Is Having a Suggestion Box at the Office a Good Idea?

It’s no secret that many employees want to be involved in the workplace processes in regard to suggesting valuable ideas to management. However, as a business owner, how do you handle the influx of suggestions in the most efficient and professional manner? There are two sides to every coin and that pertains to this issue as well. This article will share some ideas on how to implement a suggestion box in the office and whether or not it will be a good idea for your specific situation.

The Benefits of Utilising a Suggestion Box in the Office

When a suggestion box and the ensuing process are integrated properly into the workplace, there are many benefits for both the employees and the management. The following is a listing of the benefits for using such a box.

1. Receive creative ideas from employees who would otherwise be too shy to suggest them

2. Cultivate a workplace environment that promotes outside-the-box type of thinking

3. Management may receive a fresh perspective on areas that they hadn’t thought about

4. An opportunity to generate new and innovative products and workplace policies

The Disadvantages of Utilising a Suggestion Box in the Workplace

Management needs to realize that implementing a suggestion box can open Pandora’s Box and create an entirely new set of problems. The list below describes some of the possible disadvantages to using such a suggestions box.

1. Employees may feel free to submit rude or off-color comments that they’d otherwise not say

2. Managers may find themselves inundated with ridiculous or useless, time-wasting comments

3. Employees may use this as an anonymous gripe session to complain about fellow employees

4. This entire process could possibly be a waste of time and yield absolutely no good results  

Steps on How to Implement a Suggestion Box for the Best Possible Results

Of course, there are no guarantees about the success for implementing this process. However, if management follows certain steps to ensure as professional a process as possible, the probability for a positive yield increases.

Step # 1: Keep the Process Professional and Anonymous

For this suggestion box process to work, it is imperative that the procedure remains professional and employees can stay anonymous. If you require employees to post their name with the suggestion, the majority of people won’t submit anything. Since handwriting can be identified, you can always suggest that your employees type out a suggestion. If you happen to figure out who suggested an idea, don’t reveal that you know who the person is. Keep to strict rules of anonymity. Make sure that everyone in the office completely understands the process. It is vital that everyone knows that this box is not to be used to complain or criticise others.

Step # 2: Delegate a Moderator

To keep the process flowing smoothly, it is important for the company owner to delegate a moderator that is one of his or her trusted advisors. This person needs to completely understand the process that is implemented and then ensure that the process will continue to follow the rules put into place. This moderator can sift through all of the suggestions and remove the superfluous or off-color comments. In doing so, this will make certain that as the owner; your time will not be wasted sifting through the suggestion box. If you have the managerial resources, chose several managers to be on a committee that will review the positive suggestions and coordinate an analysis for your review. In order to show your openness to including your employees’ opinions, ask an employee who is not in a managerial position, to join the committee. Schedule the appointments on the committee on a rotational basis so that it is clear that all employees’ opinions are valuable.  

Step # 3: Utilise Good Ideas

In order for this process to continue smoothly and yield good results, it is important to utilise the good ideas that come from your employees. By incorporating good ideas, you are showing your employees that you are serious about this process and truly do value their opinions. As the owner, you also need to be open to taking suggestions from others about your business. Of course, not every tip is going to be a feasible addition to your company processes, products or policy. However, it pays off to have an open mind.

Implementing a suggestion box can be a useful and effective tool in your business. However, if it’s not implemented properly, then there will be more disadvantages than benefits. The majority of companies have an employee handbook. It is important to add your suggestion box policy description into this handbook. Remember to keep this process anonymous and delegate a moderator and review committee. If you never utilise any of the good suggestions, that won’t foster trust between you and your employees. When your review team finds a viable idea, be sure to implement it.  


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