Businesses thrive on innovation. And often, the best new ideas come straight from your employees. They interact with customers, recognizing their pain points firsthand, and can determine patterns as well as opportunities for change. Empower your greatest resource by providing frequent and simple ways to offer feedback!

Here are just three ways your team can start fostering a culture of innovation:

  1. Consistent “One-on-One” meetings. Having biweekly or monthly one-on-ones with your employees is a great way to show support and keep the lines of communication open. Rather than calling for a special meeting or letting things pile up, smaller issues can be brought up in a casual one-on-one. They’re also a great way to foster personal connections, which strengthens trust between employees and managers.
  2. Open Meetings. Crowdsource your staff! Almost every program, benefit, or service enhancement we have at Ruby was the brainchild of one of our virtual receptionists. So we hold monthly receptionist-run meetings where anyone can participate and make suggestions. Not only do we get great ideas, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for employees to flex their leadership skills!
  3. Anonymous feedback forms. Ample face-to-face communication is important, but a good ol’ suggestion box can make folks extra comfortable. We use the Start, Stop, Continue method at Ruby; keep a few forms on-hand and encourage employees to fill out each section when submitting an anonymous suggestion. It helps team members to take a holistic view and celebrate things we do well as a company, in addition to proposing changes.

Whatever way you foster feedback, don’t forget to follow through or follow up. When you decide not to implement an idea, let the team in on your reasoning. It shows you value and consider all ideas, and your employees will continue to keep their eyes peeled for new innovations!

 Photo via Flickr user Mary Margret