All companies want to be more profitable and more competitive. One way to do that is by increasing employees’ job satisfaction. The equation is simple: high job satisfaction = happy staff = motivation = good performances.
Companies also can benefit greatly from employees’ input.
In a lot of companies, senior management have created a model in which employees are convinced that no one is interested in what they have to say. This situation happens in many companies around the world; regardless of the industry. If employees are more adventurous and “make sound choices and produce great results, senior management gets (and usually takes) credit for having put in place a great strategy” (Roger, 2010, p. 68). For the employee the ball is never on their side and winning is not an option. They get little (or no) credit for their good ideas and get reprimanded for their mistakes or errors. With such management, following a strict top to bottom model, the effects are very negative on people’s motivation, their emotional disengagement, sense of fulfillment, and can kill any sense of initiative or trust. Employees then just do their job for the financial aspect of it rather than “reflect on how to make things work better for their corporation and its customers” (Roger, 2010).
“We often wrongly assume that commodity jobs are filled with commodity people. Everyone was born with the capacity to create” (The MIX, 2010). This is too often the case in most companies. Employers don’t give their staff the change to express themselves. If senior management could get idea and feedback from their bottom employee companies would made huge step forward.
I propose a hack that could be easily implemented. It’s not a revolution, just a small step towards change. The implementation of this hack should be rather simple and does not need much energy from the company. The real difficulty would be ’following the process’ which explained below.
This hack puts in place a mechanism that allows people to make suggestions. It will provide them with a follow up through the process of the decision making, either by the rejection of the suggestion or its implementation which would lead to some sort of recognition. Whatever the outcome would be, feedback would be the key for the success of this hack.
What people want is:
- To have exciting work
- The ability to make a difference and make progress in meaningful work
- Having people higher in the hierarchy to listen to their ideas
- Have an environment that stimulates creativity
To help to fulfill these needs some goals can be put in place:
- Give them the opportunity to be creative
- Involve them in the decision making process
- Give them the opportunity to interact with the upper hierarchy
What companies want is:
- Staff that perform
- Staff that can generate good ideas
For this hack to work at its best, a widget would need to be developed.
A staff member gets an idea. It could be any sort of idea: from a new revolutionary product to a way to improve comfort or productivity of the staff, to organizing a fun event for the Christmas party. The concept lies in getting ideas. Any idea.
The employee enters their idea into a widget. He/she remains anonymous. This way stereotypes, discrimination are avoided as well as any credibility problem.
The idea is now captured by the system and is sent to several people to review it. The number of people would depend of the company’s size. If we take the example of a company with 100 employees, five people would be enough. Among those five, two would be at the same level as the ‘submitter’ and the other three would be at management level, with at least one at the top of the hierarchy. Obviously details of the ‘who’ would have to be internal to the organization. The whole concept behind is that the idea is being showed to people at the top of the organization as well as the top (decision making level). These five people would need to vote for or against the idea. At that stage they are just voting “yes it’s a good idea” or not. If voted against, a feedback should be entered. The submitter then receives the feedback.
If voted for, the submitter becomes known from the management level and becomes involved in the potential project. The submitter should be present at every stage of the process that involved the idea.
The purpose of this system is to “grab” good ideas from employees. The ideas will be discussed, debated and maybe implemented.
But this hack has other purposes:
- Ideas that are rejected, will allow employees to get feedback on their idea which may open the door to some further refinement or dialogue.
- Ideas that will be accepted, give the submitter the opportunity to be involved in something outside of his/her everyday work, and be part of the decision making of something they initiated. He/she would get recognition for the idea.
- If the top managers can no longer pass other people’s ideas off as their own, the knock-on effect would be that they would need to act in one of two ways – it would either force them to up their game and force them to become more innovative themselves; or they would be faced with a situation where they are not hitting the mark and may look elsewhere job-wise. Either way this would be a win for the organization as they would either be clearing out the “deadwood” managers or having their managers step up and hence be more effective.
A reward system should also be implemented in order to motivate staff to make suggestions.
Areas touched by the hack:
- Decision making
- Bottom up
- New perspective (through dissident)