Want to solicit free revenue generating or cost saving ideas? Ask your employees! They are an excellent resource that, for some reason (ego, inability to fully delegate, not thinking of employees as truly part of a team, just never thought about it…did I miss anything?) many business owners often ignore. Here’s an excerpt from an Inc.com article on the subject:
———————-“6. Make it Fun. “The old suggestion box just doesn’t do it anymore and you can wait a long time to get more than a few scattered ideas from a web site. Make it social: Ideas come from the interplay and free exchange between employees. Create opportunities for employees to get together and brainstorm. The Japanese have long done this informally with their after-work get togethers (though sometimes those involve excessive drinking). It doesn’t really matter how it’s done, as long as it’s done together. New ideas come from playfulness and humor. If fun is not a dirty word at your business, you’ll hear a lot more ideas every day. Nothing shuts people up faster than knowing if they offer an idea the boss or company doesn’t like, they’ll pay for it. Really good ideas almost never sound “normal.” Imagine how the idea for Post-it notes must have sounded when it was first described—’you stick these little pieces of paper everywhere, then…'”
—Steven Farmer, W. Frank Barton Distinguished Chair in Business, Department of Management, Wichita State University”——————-
For more suggestions, read the entire Tapping Employee Ideas article.