3 Simple Steps To Get Your Employees To Speak Up

For any company, a key competitive advantage is simply being able to leverage the creativity, insights and ideas of their employees. That sounds simple enough, but it’s harder than you might expect for many organizations. Most employees simply don’t feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas. Employees may be afraid that their ideas and insights might be construed as criticism of the company’s leadership. So how, then, can you get employees comfortable with speaking up?

STEP 1: Recognize employees who speak up with tangible rewards

One key to getting employees to share concerns and share new ideas is giving recognition to those employees whose specific feedback helped move the company forward. This recognition might be in the form of monetary compensation. One form of monetary recognition could be a monthly bonus to the employee who brought the best idea forward during the month. Think of this as a variant of the “employee of the month” approach, except that here you are recognizing the “idea of the month.”

STEP 2: Add elements of gamification to encourage participation

Other companies have added elements of gamification to encourage employee participation. The goal of gamification, of course, is to add game-like elements to the workplace experience. A benefit of gamification is that it tends to encourage certain positive behaviors. Classic elements of gamification include badges and “levels”. This has proven remarkably successful in breaking through social mores and encouraging broader levels of participation across the company.

For example, employees might be able to accumulate “points” throughout the year for new ideas and new suggestions that they have brought forward at meetings or brainstorm sessions. After reaching a certain level, they would be able to cash in those points for special non-monetary perks. Perks might include extra vacation days, free meals in the corporate cafeteria, or gift cards to local businesses etc. This would be similar to a video game experience, in which moving to the “next level” unlocks new skills, attributes or rewards.

STEP 3: Celebrate feedback ideas in a public way

It’s one thing simply to tell an employee, “That’s a great idea.” It’s another thing entirely to turn that great idea into a new business strategy. To do so, some companies create internal websites showcasing new action plans built around specific feedback ideas. The goal here is to make the idea “come alive” so that employees can see that management is taking these new ideas seriously. Some of these websites even go so far to as provide detailed timelines for implementation and key milestones for achievement. They might also list names of specific employees who are the “idea champions” and who are leading the project forward. Employees might not feel comfortable approaching their boss with an idea, but they might feel empowered to interact with their peers.

What all three of these steps share in common is their ability to encourage employees to debate different perspectives and share new ideas. When your employees see that management values their opinions and is taking tangible steps to bring those ideas to life, it helps to unlock even more innovation and creativity.

This helps to make management more approachable as an authority, since employees will start to view the company’s leadership as “partners” and “stakeholders” in their new ideas. In short, getting your employees to speak up helps to create a positive feedback loop. And it is these positive feedback loops that are the key to building a dynamic, vibrant company with plenty of fresh new ideas.

Ready to unlock your team’s full potential, but don’t know where to start? We can help. Talk to an Improvement Strategy Expert who can help you unify and optimize your team in a fun and engaging way. Click here to get started.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” -Bernard Baruch

Like what you're reading?

Get improvement tips & techniques delivered straight to your inbox.

You're all set to receive the best collection of Improvement Content around! Expect some great emails coming your way very soon. To make sure you receive your Playbook, please add Lisa@adapt.consulting to your contacts and look for emails from The Improvement Playbook.

Share This