How To Create an Effective Employee Suggestion Box

Updated June 30, 2022

Gathering feedback from employees is a key aspect of managing a successful workplace and implementing improvements to maintain a healthy work environment. Having a central location where employees can provide feedback, such as a suggestion box, can be an effective way for everyone in the workplace to share their ideas. Learning best practices for gathering and processing employee recommendations can help ensure that you get the greatest benefit from a suggestion box. In this article, we explain the advantages of using an employee suggestion box and share steps and tips for collecting suggestions from employees in the workplace.

What is an employee suggestion box?

An employee suggestion box is a tool that organizations use to gather feedback from their team members about how to improve the workplace. It's often a physical receptacle that company leaders place in a central location that anyone can access, such as a break room or conference room. Employers can also use online forms as digital suggestion boxes. People in the workplace write down their ideas and submit them for management to review.

Related: Giving and Receiving Feedback: Definitions and Examples

Benefits of using an employee suggestion box

Here are some of the key advantages of having a suggestion box in the workplace:

Fostering innovation

Gathering ideas from everyone in the workplace can create a more innovative environment. By giving everyone an opportunity to submit their suggestions, company leaders can quickly collect multiple perspectives. This gives them the chance to learn about new strategies, techniques and ideas, inspiring a creative and modern workplace.

Related: 12 Key Characteristics of a Culture of Innovation (With Tips)

Improving morale

When people have a channel where they can share their thoughts about work, they often feel better about their jobs. Listening to employees about their opinions and considering their input can show that managers respect their contributions to the workplace. This creates a culture of mutual respect and can improve the overall morale of the team.

Related: How To Improve Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction

Understanding workplace issues

Having a suggestion box can promote a higher level of awareness of issues in the workplace. A suggestion box gives people a simple way to voice frustrations and concerns that they may not have otherwise mentioned. Managers can learn about common challenges in the workplace and be proactive about addressing them early on, which can prevent larger issues from occurring.

Encouraging engagement

If managers implement recommendations from a suggestion box, employees may feel a sense of engagement and accountability in their work. They can be proud that their input caused a positive change in the workplace, inspiring them to be more proactive and seek other ways to advance in their role. When other employees see that one person made a difference in the workplace, this may also encourage them to take more responsibility for improving their environment.

Boosting confidence

Having a suggestion box can create a safe environment for all employees to share their thoughts and increase their confidence in their own professional contributions. Some employees may be shy when discussing their ideas during meetings with other coworkers. Being able to write down recommendations and submit them can be a low-stress way to collaborate.

How to implement an employee suggestion box

If you want to begin a suggestion system for your team at work or are interested in improving an existing employee recommendation box, follow these instructions:

1. Ask for input from your team

Start by seeking advice from employees about what kind of suggestion box is most convenient for them. Send out a survey seeking information, such as if they prefer an online form or a physical box. Gathering their input can help them feel more ownership over the recommendation box program, which may increase participation.

2. Create a place to collect suggestions

Designate a central location where you want to collect recommendations. Choose a place that's accessible to everyone on the team. If you want to use an online suggestion box, post a link to the form somewhere that's easy to find, such as a shared employee drive. When using a physical box, ensure that people can place forms inside the box but no one can remove or alter forms that someone else submitted.

Related: Employee Surveys: Your Modern Day Suggestion Box

3. Provide a suggestion form

Develop a corresponding prompt that employees can submit into the suggestion box. While having free space to share ideas is helpful, some team members may appreciate having guiding questions. Here are some examples of prompts to include:

  • What do you want to improve about the workplace?

  • Why do you want to make this change?

  • How might this change influence the company or workplace?

  • What steps can management take to make this change?

4. Review suggestions regularly

Once you have a suggestion box system, regularly assess submissions from your team. This shows employees that you genuinely value what they have to say about the workplace. Create a schedule for how often you plan to review submissions, such as weekly or bi-weekly. Explain to your team how frequently they can expect to hear about their suggestions.

5. Collect data

After receiving information through a suggestion box, save these submissions in a database. Collecting data about how employees feel and what kinds of suggestions they make can help you recognize long-term patterns about the workplace culture. If you see multiple recommendations about the same topic, this can indicate a long-term issue that deserves special attention.

6. Acknowledge recommendations

Send out regular notices acknowledging submissions from the employees. Summarize what you learned from the recommendations and what you plan on changing based on that information. This helps ensure that employees feel that managers appreciate and value their input. It also shows that you're actually reading and considering each recommendation.

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Tips for a successful suggestion box program

Here are several tips you can use to promote success in your suggestion program:

  • Allow anonymity. Give your team members the option to share their ideas anonymously. Employees can have the option to provide their name if they want to have credit for an idea, but they may feel more comfortable sharing constructive criticism if they have privacy.

  • Ask for details. Prompt employees for details about ways to implement improvements and the reason they're providing each suggestion. This can encourage them to provide practical, productive recommendations.

  • Designate a suggestion manager. Assign a specific person on the leadership team to process suggestions to ensure someone is overseeing this duty. You can rotate this role regularly to share the responsibility and encourage fair perspectives when considering suggestions.

  • Provide rewards. Offer rewards when your team provides suggestions that help the business. If the idea was anonymous, give a reward to the whole team.

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