3 Potential Benefits of Listening to Your Employees’ Ideas

Everybody knows that personal relationships can only thrive through proactive listening. If you’re not actively listening to your friend, family member, or significant other, your relationship will begin a slow, downward spiral. And yet, people seem to forget that this concept should also be applied to business. Listening to your employees and encouraging them to share their ideas can have enormous positive impacts on your business. So if you’re not already listening to your employees’ ideas, here are just 3 reasons you should consider doing so.

Innovative Product Suggestions

Every business wants to be the one in their industry to come up with “the next big thing.” Whatever your line of business is, one big innovation is all it takes to launch your company to the top. But where do those brilliant ideas come from? Yes, it could come from your own mind, but your chances of finding that next big thing are greatly improved if you tap into every mind in your office.

Implement some sort of idea management software in your office to collect employee ideas and suggestions. You can incentivize them either through a point system for simply participating, or by offering a prize to anyone whose ideas you use in the business. Ask them what improvements you can make to your current products, or what new products they might have in mind. You might be surprised where your next big idea comes from.

Process Improvements

The people in the upper echelons of a business all have important roles to play; however, they tend to be somewhat removed from the day-to-day operations of the business. It’s difficult to be aware of how the machine is functioning when you’re looking at it from the outside. Your employees are right on the front lines of your daily operations. Their perspective is one that can see the little hang-ups and slowdowns that can cost your business time and money.

When you start listening to your employees’ ideas, odds are that they will bring you many suggestions to improve your workflows. These ideas—usually given in hopes of making their own jobs easier—can be implemented in ways that significantly improve your business. More efficient processes, the elimination of certain bottlenecks, and better customer management are just a few of the ways that your processes can be improved, simply by listening to your employees’ ideas.

A Texas-based plant for the company Amoco implemented an employee suggestion plan. The suggestions they received and implemented saved the company over $18 million in just two years. Imagine what you could accomplish with such cost savings.

Improved Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a key factor in your business’s success. An engaged employee is one that works harder, is more committed to your company, and is less likely to seek other employment. As any business owner or manager knows, these employee attributes can have a huge impact on your bottom line, and most are always on the lookout for ways to improve employee engagement.

Simply listening to your employees’ ideas can greatly improve your employees’ engagement levels, helping them to feel as if their opinions are valued and appreciated. If you implement a system for them to submit their suggestions, you’re on your way to improving their engagement levels. But be sure that you are following up on the submissions you receive. Even if you don’t use their ideas, make sure that they know you value their efforts to improve your business. This simple step will increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and positively impact your company’s bottom line. Even if you don’t get any usable ideas for new products or process improvements, this benefit alone makes implementing an idea management tool worth the effort.

The potential benefits of implementing such a tool and listening to your employees’ ideas go on, but these three alone could have an enormous impact on your business. You never know—the future of your company’s success could be right at your fingertips, and all you have to do is start listening.