Four simple words, yet it appears they are not asked often enough. One of the questions for coworkers in the When Work Works (WWW) questionnaire is, “My managers seek information and new ideas from employees.” At WWW award winning organizations (including ours), 62 % of coworkers strongly agreed with that statement. A survey of companies around the country revealed that only 20% of their employees would strongly agree with that statement.
The first key aspect of that question is managers seeking information. Getting coworkers to offer up ideas and feedback has to go further than putting up a suggestion box. You can take that one step, especially to provide an avenue for introverts and those not used to talking with management. Preceding that step is an active engagement, through the management and supervisor ranks, to engage in dialog and actively solicit input. Lay the groundwork and even expectation that a part of their job responsibilities includes communicating their thoughts and ideas on their workspace and activities.
Some management teams, including myself in my early days, think you are opening Pandora’s Box by asking the question, “What do you think” and then engaging in such discussion. Once you realize that your focus should be on the total outcome and not the process itself, asking that question becomes much easier.