Why Suggestion Programs do Not Work

Why don’t suggestion programs work?

The typical suggestion program or suggestion box is an open ended and unstructured solicitation of ideas. They will typically end up:

  • As a place to put “nice to have ideas” rather than improvement projects
  • As a venue to complain
  • An expense rather than a savings
  • A disappointment for all
  • Wasting a lot of time and money

This happens because:

  • Suggestions that are submitted drop into a “black hole” or
  • Some suggestions are implemented and others are ignored
  • Goals are unclear
  • They lack adequate structure
  • The participants and not adequately trained
  • Expectations are not set and guided
  • The criteria are muddy or missing
  • There is little or no reward for participation

If you want ideas from your employees, use world-class methods such as Lean, TQM, ISO, Six-Sigma or the Profit Improvement Process.

One organization with tens of thousands of employees gave up after less than 36 months when they found out that they were not only NOT saving money but they were increasing costs and reducing morale. Painting the ladies bathrooms pink was just one of the suggestions that was rejected because there was no clear ROI. That rejection and others did not go over well at all.