Managers must involve their employees: there are several different ways, which depend on the organization culture and on the kind of industry. Most of the time it is an exercise of management communication with the aim of listening and to be listened to more closely, by their own internal public.
We asked the managers of some of the best companies in Europe to tell us about the practices they use to manage ideas collected from their employees. Here is what we discovered.
COLLECTING FEEDBACKS AND IDEA BOX
NETAPP NETHERLANDS, UK, FRANCE, GERMANY, SWITZERLAND
Creating a new strategy is not something hidden in this company. “We go back to the feedback we have received from managers or teams. Then we rework the strategy and go back to the them again. People feel involved, they have: 1. the security that what we’re implementing will be accepted by the team and 2. that it’s the right strategy,” says Andreas König, Senior Vice President and General Manager. “We also created an Idea Box. People can go to the website or send an e-mail. They can describe an idea and what they want to achieve through it. Every week we go through the list of ideas, and select the top 10 (to be implemented) and the best one is awarded as the idea of the month.”
OPEN DOOR AND MEETINGS
Mette Hybschmann, HR department, states the importance of the internal dialogue processes and an ‘open door policy’, “Mostly this generates ideas as to how we can improve the working conditions and internal communications and service. A representative employees group is involved, twice a year, to discuss how the employees perceive the business and the daily leadership. This group has collected input from the other employees before the session. These sessions are lead by an external independent chairperson – often from another restaurant. A summary of the session is presented to the management team of the restaurant, who then works out a plan of action.”
COCA COLA GREECE
“Through our reward program ‘Extra Mile’ and an engagement survey which we run each year, we encourage employees to suggest innovative ideas on products, services and as well our work environment. In 2009, 48 ideas were evaluated by Leadership Team. From these ideas 2 have already been implemented. ‘Green Roof’- Placement of a specific construction at Schimatari Plant, located specifically at the roof area which houses the production line. ‘E-Pay slips’ – E-mail that will be sent monthly to every employee and will include their payroll receipt, while eliminating all hard copies,” says Sissy Eliopoulou Communication & Consumer Relations Manager.
WORKING TOGETHER ON STRATEGIES
&SAMHOUD THE NETHERLANDS
“Four times a year a Balanced Scorecard Meeting is organized, which is attended by all employees and involves sharing the latest status with regard to projects, customers etc.” says Ingrid Smolder, adding “The aim is to share knowledge and information and involve employees.” During these meetings a competition is also organized in which employees can suggest their proposals for new developments. Moreover, employees at &Samhoud are involved in brainstorming sessions to contribute with their opinion on areas of improvement that have emerged from the internal employee satisfaction survey. Finally, “The management and the employees can share their experience with everyone via a blog,” she states.
SURVEY AND WORKSHOP
Every 2 years employees are invited to participate in a satisfaction survey, by assessing different dimensions: Company, Management quality, Work environment, Job & Career, Comp & Ben. To ease the survey “People are invited to share ideas and suggestions by sticking post its in our cafeterias” says Gaël D’Echallens, HR Manager. In this way “Strong points are consolidated and workshop defines action plans to improve our weaker scores.” It involves several groups that “Generate ideas and make suggestions to our management teams: Think Tank, Business committees & Manager committee” adds D’Echallens. Some examples of ideas that have been already implemented: Culture et Sens, which is a way to have an access to different cultures through conferences; home office once a week; larger access to sports activities and equipments. All the companies interviewed have one thing in common. It seems that they act by involving all the senses in the relationship with their employees: listen, communicate, share and especially care, are the main ways to collect new wonderful ideas.
Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Summer 2010