Managing: Employee Ideas
Listen & Learn
Take advantage of employees' ideas on how you can save
and make money
When Stuller Settings instituted an employee suggestion program,
it had no idea how much gold dust and scraps it lost in non-manufacturing
areas. Because of an employee's suggestion, the company found
that gathering gold from air filters and cleaning debris in those
areas resulted in thousands of dollars of savings. The gold was
traveling through the air vents from the manufacturing area,
as well as being tramped in on people's shoes.
For James Louviere, who manages the employee suggestion program
for Stuller, this is a perfect example of why it pays all companies,
even the smallest retailer, to ask for employee ideas. In the
past two years alone, Stuller has received more than 1,000 ideas,
used half of them and paid $2.5 million in bonuses, which represented
millions more in profits for the company. But there are some
How Creativity Gets Buried
Ideas are like buried treasure, Louviere said at the PrimeTime
Fall Marketplace & Conference in Las Vegas, where he presented
a seminar sponsored by the magazine and coordinated by Charlotte
Preston Catalysts, White Bear Lake, MN. To dig out good ideas,
you have to be an encourager. Here are "discourager"
statements managers often make, followed by Louviere's more positive
- I already pay him a salary. He owes me the ideas. A better
approach is to accept the fact money and attention are keys that
unlock the ideas in your employee's head.
- I guess I have to pay him, but I don't like it. Pay the money
gladly. Employees who give you good ideas will save you money.
- I already know the best way to do things. You don't have
all the good ideas. The people who work in the trenches often
know best how to improve a job and save money.
- We get lots of ideas, but some of them point out problems
I don't want to know about. Resist the temptation to kill the
messenger. Be grateful the situation will be corrected.
- All I need are people to work without thinking; they can
hang their brains on the coat rack when they come to work. Discover
the power of each worker's brain.
- I'll listen to their ideas, but do I have to act on them?
Your employees will feel insulted and disrespected if you don't
institute the best ideas.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.