The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Connect with Your Team: Don’t Go It Alone!

connect with your team

We all have day to day stuff to get done, and often just doing it the way we’ve always done it is the easiest. Lots of employees have ideas, but who has time to listen to all of it? And so many of the ideas are self-serving and expensive that you’ll never implement them anyway! But then, there is the one gem hidden in all those ideas that can add clients or profits to the bottom line.

The old days

Remember the old suggestion box? We had them hanging all over the businesses. Employees used to love to stuff them full of all sorts of ideas. Human Resources tried to remember to empty them every so often, and then sort through what made sense. We had committees that evaluated ideas, and often gave monetary awards or prizes to those that made sense. Unfortunately the norm was that even of the good ideas, very few of them actually ever got implemented. Eventually the suggestion box disappeared.

Empowerment takes over

In the 1990’s, we decided to empower our workforce on the front line instead of sending suggestions up to management and waiting for replies. That was great for the employees that understood the strategy of the organization, had good common sense and aligned decisions in the moment with what was good for the business. How many of those employees do you have? Many businesses ended up with people making all sorts of decisions that didn’t make sense, spending money they didn’t intend, or creating a situation where different departments and areas of the business were all running differently.

So where are we today?

What we know is that employees want to be involved. They certainly have good ideas, but things are often spinning so quickly that there isn’t time to sit and flesh the idea out in a way that works for the business. Employees want to be valued for expertise, and seen by the leadership team in a professional way.

Why not Shark Tank the suggestion box idea? What if you had a formal presentation 2-3 times a year for employee presentations? You could have a production committee that would preview and elaborate on ideas. Mentors could work with viable “contestants” to gather data and create the presentations. Then leadership can spend a half day hearing the best of the best. Those that seem viable would receive a cash award and the presenter and their mentor could become responsible for implementation.

In my on-site work with management teams called Employees: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em, we work collaboratively to get creative. This is just one idea to tap into the potential of your team. Managers need to find time to connect with their teams. Likely you will find that there are many ideas that will help add to your business at many levels by engaging team members at all levels.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at!
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