Staff suggestions can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to employers, according to research published today.
Research by Personnel Today's sister publication IRS Employment Review shows that while some suggestion schemes fail to engage employees and are eventually closed down, others produce rewards for employers in terms of higher sales, more efficient ways of working, and lower costs.
And almost all organisations (96 per cent) that run suggestion schemes hope to achieve greater staff involvement – with service improvements (cited by 84 per cent) close behind.
Although most suggestion schemes offer cash or gifts to reward good ideas (anything up to £1,000 for the best ideas in some companies), employers believe that their staff place more value on the recognition they receive for their efforts.
IRS Employment Review's managing editor, Mark Crail said: "You do not have to be Einstein to have a good idea, but it takes a good manager to recognise a staff suggestion that can improve a company's performance and put it into practice.
"For some people, suggestion schemes are associated with the suggestion box that sits empty and ignored on the canteen wall – an unwanted, token attempt at employee involvement, destined to achieve nothing much.
"But our research reveals that this is not always the case. Staff suggestions can make a substantial difference.
"But it requires effort on the part of employers to keep the suggestion scheme live. The best schemes deal with suggestions quickly and efficiently, implement those that are worth doing, and make sure the effect is measured and fed back to managers and employees."