The latest TV series of Undercover Boss has just finished in the UK, with Peter Harvey, CEO of slot machine company Quicksilver, featuring in the last episode. One of the issues Peter uncovered was that staff were becoming demotivated because their ideas and suggestions on ways to improve the business were knocked back by senior management. Some staff were told to shut up and just get on with their jobs.
Many organisations fail in capturing staff suggestions and turning the best ideas into reality. Often the ideas seem to fall into a corporate black hole, leaving staff unclear why their suggestion wasn’t taken up, and unlikely to make any further suggestions.
Ideally, there should be a way of staff being able to communicate an idea and for them to track its progress – to understand if it’s still being considered, why it had been rejected, why it had approved but given a low priority, and so on.
One approach is to adopt an idea from the software sector, and to treat the problems staff identify as bugs that need fixing.
There are a number of bug tracking applications out there, such as JIRA, that enable everyone to see the progress of any solution. Many of these bug tracking tools also have features for recommending enhancements. These suggestions can be voted up or down on by others, commented on by the developers/implementers, and prioritised. Everyone can see the status of an issue – if and why it’s not being acted upon, if an item is in a queue, if it’s being worked on etc.
We’ve used wikis on policy and procedures projects – as a way for writing collaboratively and for staff to comment of the changed content. As some of the bug tracking applications integrate with wikis, there’s the opportunity to track a recommendation all the way through to the wording of any changed procedures.
What do you think?
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