Employee Suggestion Program
Ideas - Best Practices Guide

How to start your Employee Suggestion Program

Your employees are a valuable source of information and ideas that can have a significant positive impact on your company. They have first hand experience with everything that happens in your business, and probably already have all kinds of improvement ideas. You just need to ask! And be ready to listen and act on them.

Give your staff the opportunity and encouragement to share those ideas will have help improve employee morale and the overall corporate culture, and has the potential be beneficial to your organization’s bottom line. When employees see that management seeks, listens and acts on their ideas, they will feel more valued, loyal, and engaged.

A Formal Employee Suggestion Program will help motivate employees to identify problems and areas for improvement in your organization, and to suggest solutions. This type of recognition program will give employees another reason to care about your organization, and encourages them to be innovative and more engaged.

By asking for your staff's help you are letting employees know their ideas are appreciated and valued. Then, reward employees for participating, even if its only a thank you card. Give larger awards for viable suggestions that enhances efficiency, improves the employee experience, increases productivity, reduces costs, or helps create a safer work environment. Your suggestion program can help your business grow and prosper.

Planning Tips for your new Employee Recognition Program:

There are two basic parts to planning your new Employee Suggestion Program

  1. Employee Recognition Committee will develop a formal plan for your program: Begin by researching what other similar companies are doing and what is working best for them. Then determine what would work best, and be most helpful in your organization. For your program to be successful, employees need to know the rules, and what's in it for them. A written plan detailing all aspects of your program should be communicated to everyone. The following tips are offered to help you get started. (see below)
  2. Define the REWARDS to be used:
    • Not every suggestion will get an award, but every suggestion should be acknowledged. Depending on the suggestion, you may just provide a thank you note, and possibly an entry into a monthly, or quarterly drawing for a suggestion incentive award.
    • For suggestions that saves money - consider cash awards: but these should only be for suggestions resulting in a financial benefit to the organization.
    • When awarding suggestions that are hard to measure, or have intangible benefits - always give merchandise awards. Often great suggestions will have a large benefit to the organization, but cannot be measured in dollars. For these awards, consider these non-cash options:
      (see: two different options - either: Recognition with Gift Catalogs, or Point Awards)

How to Create a Successful Employee Suggestion Program:

Create an Employee Suggestion - Review and Recognition Committee
This team’s ongoing mission is to review every employee’s suggestion and acknowledge the receipt of each within a few days. They should not be all managers, and should include members from different departments. If this team approves a suggestion, it  advances to senior management for final approval.

Designate an Owner/Administrator
To ensure success, your suggestion program needs a senior manager as the owner/administrator, and must also be part of the review process. Responsibilities include making sure the whole program works as designed, promoting the program, and telling employees how important the suggestion program is to your company.

Announce your Employee Suggestion ProgramAnnounce your Employee Suggestion Program
Gather the employees to announce your program, and talk about how it could benefit them and how it aligns with your company's core values. Describe the kind of suggestions you want, such as: ideas to reduce costs, reduce employee turnover, increase efficiency and productivity, improve quality, improve sales or services, and safety. Also important are ideas that will improve employee attitudes and morale. Detail the Suggestion Review Process so employees will know what to expect.

Define what a good suggestion looks like
Every suggestion should clearly state the issue, include a detailed solution, an estimate of the cost to implement the solution, and an estimate of the projected savings or benefit if implemented. While this may sound like a lot to ask of an employee, it is vital information that is needed by the suggestion review team. The more information the employee can provide about the suggested solution and its benefits, the better its chance of getting approved.

Encourage submissions from individuals as well as teams
While suggestions submitted by individuals is usually the main focus of your program, Team Collaboration and Team submissions should also be encouraged, and is where you could see some amazing results. Include these guidelines to encourage people to come together in order to create bigger solutions that may be better developed by a team, rather than by just one person.

Some employees may have great ideas, but are not able to detail an issue, or complete a cost/savings estimate, or develop a detailed solution. However, if a Team Submission option is available in your program, then these valuable suggestions can be developed by the combined intelligence of a few co-workers.

Define how your Suggestion Review Team will communicate:
Timely feedback on the status of suggestions is important to keep employees motivated. Everyone will be anxious to hear what’s happening to their suggestion, so provide frequent updates to each suggestion, at defined intervals.

All communications between the suggestion originator and the review team should be confidential. This includes requests for suggestion clarification, status reports, or rejection notices.

However, when a suggestion is accepted, the employee should be recognized publicly. Include a description of the suggestion and how the solution will benefit the company. If an award is involved, it should be presented at that time. While most employees will welcome formal recognition, always respect the wishes of employees who do not want that spotlight.

Clearly Define the Rewards for Approved Suggestions
For approved suggestions that result in cost savings, the employee generally is awarded up to ten percent of the estimated savings, up to a defined maximum amount, for the first year their suggestion is implemented.

Clearly Define the Rewards for Approved SuggestionsFor approved suggestions that are difficult to measure its benefit, or does not result in specific cost savings, a series of tier-level merchandise awards should be clearly defined. Award Packets with Gift Catalogs allow the winner to select their own gift from a large selection of life-style gifts.
Details: How to provide merchandise awards using Gift Catalogs

If you publicly recognize employees and provide sufficiently substantial awards for adopted suggestions, the results of your program suggestion program will be amazing.

Please contact us - We look forward to working with you.

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  • For the highest levels of Engagement, every company's comprehensive Employee Recognition plan should include many opportunities to motivate and recognize its team. See more ways to recognize.


Employee Suggestion Award

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Suggestion Award Packet

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Employee Recognition Awards

Use this form to request your free information package, sent via UPS. It will include:

*  Sample Employee Award Packet
*  Sample Gift-of-Choice Award Catalogs
*  How to customize Presentation Packets
*  Pricing, order forms, and how to get started.