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Generating Employee Feedback

Encourage employees to share their ideas.
August 23, 2006

Entrepreneur magazine, December 1996

Are your employees sharing their ideas for improving your products, services or the overall business? Don't assume that being a small, entrepreneurial company automatically makes you an innovative company, cautions John Gear, a principal with Catalyst Consulting Services in Vancouver, Washington.

"If you want people to give you ideas and help you innovate, you have to ask for those things, and you have to create conditions where people want to give you ideas," Gear says.

Forget about the old suggestion box on the wall. Gear offers these tips for creating an effective suggestion program:

If you have a specific problem you'd like input on, consider scheduling a problem-solving session that's open to everyone. Gear suggests announcing that you'll be addressing a particular issue at a specific time and place, and anyone who might have input is welcome to attend.

Finally, Gear says, give your suggestion program time to work. "Your people have probably been conditioned all their lives to not make suggestions," he explains, "so it may take a while to see results."