When it comes to improving any process or facility there is nothing more valuable than the open exchange of ideas and a motivated workforce which is willing to try new things. In the past many managers tried to improve production using fear as a motivator. While in the short term it can be effective to use threats to get people to do the work that needs to be done, it is a terrible idea for long term success and building a culture of improvement.
Successful companies have learned that some of the best improvements don’t come from the top, but are actually started by the individual workers who have thought of a better way of doing a particular task. Managers would be shocked to know how many excellent ideas their employees have had, but kept to themselves out of fear or general apathy.
Getting People to Share Improvement Ideas
One of the goals of any manager should be to create an environment where the employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas for improvement. Even if they are not all great ideas and don’t all get implemented, having everyone sharing new ideas is a great way to spur improvements. In addition to expanding the number of improvement ideas which are considered, you will also have much better reception to change when the ideas came from those who are actually doing the job.
There are two main reasons why people don’t want to share ideas for improvement at work with their boss. First, they may feel like they are not appreciated and that their idea will be immediately discarded. The second is that they don’t like their boss (often due to fear) or the company they work for anyway so they feel no reason to try to help improve the environment.
When managers stop using fear as a motivator and start encouraging employees to share these types of ideas it opens up improvement opportunities in many areas. Building that culture of trust and respect is critical to this process and should be done as soon as possible.
Security is Essential
Managers who understand that mistakes are a part of life and that no matter how good someone is at their job, they will always make mistakes are able to better harness the innovative ideas which are often kept in the heads of their employees. People should not be working in an environment where they constantly fear being fired or disciplined for every little mistake. If an employee is not performing well on a consistent basis than they should be let go, but it should be known that this is only a last resort.
Accept positive ideas from people no matter what their work performance has been like in the past or what job they have. Some of the best ideas in businesses can come from the least likely areas and the biggest mistake is overlooking these types of ideas because you don’t expect them to be good. When employees feel secure in their work they will want to work with you to continue to improve the situation.