Return of the Suggestion Box? Allowing Employees to Voice Concerns

Suggestion boxes seem like an old concept, but one way to make your employees happy is to make them feel their ideas and concerns are heard, addressed and validated. A suggestion box may help make that happen.

According to an online article from Tech Republic, the suggestion box first was used in the 1700s by Japanese citizens who were encouraged to deposit ideas for improvement into a box at Shoguns Palace. This was royalty’s way to honestly gather feedback from the general public. The idea soon caught on with monarchs in Italy, Russia, Sweden and the UK.

Today’s suggestion boxes can assist employers in a variety of ways. For example, a front-line employee may find a way to help increase revenue, streamline operations or improve processes. Also, these individuals are more apt to know what your customers’ wants and needs are, helping you get direct feedback from staff who work directly with clients.

Suggestion boxes also help employees feel they are more a part of the decision-making process. As a result, they feel empowered and assume more ownership at work.

According to Lahn Ma, in “How to Introduce a Suggestion Box” on bizfluent’s website, there are best practices in introducing a suggestion box.

For example, don’t just use a shoebox with a slit cut into it. Purchase a metal box you can lock, one that has a narrow opening. Ma also recommends choosing a high-traffic area for the box, but one that is not formally monitored. Signs should be posted nearby asking people to participate..

The professional recruiters on our JobFinders team stress how important it is to follow through on employee suggestions. They should be read, discussed and evaluated and, when practical, acted upon. Otherwise the suggestion box could become a bone of contention instead of a tool to motivate your staff.