Dale Crisp, owner of Kendale Inc., has no shortage of great ideas for small ways to improve his remodeling business -- his employees provide them. For the past six months, Crisp has implemented the "Bright Ideas" program.
Crisp includes a suggestion form with every paycheck his company sends to every employee. Responses are passed along to a committee that meets weekly and presents ideas to the company’s management. All suggestions, whether or not they’re implemented, as well as the management’s responses are included in the employee newsletter, along with the name of the employee who came up with the idea. Employees are also rewarded with gift certificates to local restaurants.
"Every company has this source, but most of us don’t take the time to ask," says Crisp. "When we do ask, we fail to act, or when we do act, we never tell our employees. We’ve found that if you put the management control back into the hands of the people who see the problems, they’ll give you a sounding board to suggest better ways of doing things. They have the keys to the solutions that are baffling you."