I would say that I'm an ideas man. I have tons of them, and I'm not afraid to share my work-related ones with my boss.
Apparently, I'm not alone, because most employees claim they regularly propose ideas to their boss, according to a survey by Right Management. Half of the survey respondents claim to make 20 or more suggestions each year and another quarter between 10 and 20.
The survey was conducted in January and February, and 497 North American workers responded to the question:
How often do you offer suggestions to your boss at work?
- 54 percent—More than 20 suggestions each year
- 24 percent—Between 10 and 20 each year
- 15 percent—Fewer than 10 each year
- 7 percent—I don’t offer suggestions at work
“Despite research that indicates workers are disengaged, on the whole they want to be helpful and have their say on issues or problems that arise in the workplace” said Monika Morrow, senior vice president of Career Management for Right Management, which provides talent, career and outplacement services to Fortune 500 companies. “We find again and again that employees want to contribute. By making suggestions they demonstrate that they’re thinking about getting the job done, and done well.”
Morrow advises employers to take advantage of workers’ ideas.
“Of course, the boss has to judge which suggestions are worthwhile, but employee concern or enthusiasm should be encouraged and their willingness to participate in problem solving is the sign of a healthy workplace,” she said.
At a time when many employees feel stifled in their job, it is even more important that employers show that they are listening.
“Make sure employees know they have a voice and a say in what happens at work," she said. "Be proactive in seeking their input and sharing ideas. It should be more than a gesture, but a genuine effort to reach out. Tap them for fresh ideas that could improve productivity or customer service.”
The best employers know how to unleash the potential in people, Morrow says.
“This is a crucial management skill when talent so often is what provides a company with its competitive advantage,” she said.
What about you? Do you offer up lots of ideas throughout the year? Do you feel that your ideas are listened to and seriously considered? What's the best idea you have for our industry? Please let us know in the comments. Thank you.