Making The Suggestion Box Work in Healthcare
By Practice Growth February 21, 2020
Employee suggestion boxes give staff in different roles the opportunity to pioneer changes and improvements within the workplace. Adding a suggestion box to your practice is an easy way to show your team that you value their opinions - it boosts morale and empowers staff who hold non-managerial roles. Suggestions from front-line staff are valuable. Front-line staff have unique perspectives; they see things that others don’t; they know exactly how things work in the practice setting, and they understand why. The best suggestions for improving patient satisfaction and practice efficiency often come from the employees whose roles place them in the center of the practice’s day-to-day flow. In this article, we’ll outline crucial steps for successfully introducing a suggestion box into your practice:
Discuss the Suggestion Box
Seek feedback on things like where the suggestion box should be placed. Decide if submissions should be anonymous or not.
Form a Review Group
Each suggestion should be reviewed by more than one person. Establish a review group who’ll meet regularly to discuss new suggestions before they’re brought to the whole team.
Require that all suggestions be detailed and actionable. “Appreciate each other” isn’t a valuable suggestion. “Start a recognition program to show appreciation for each other” is a better suggestion.
Set Expectations, and Stick With Them
Don’t wait months to discuss suggestions. Make suggestion review a regular part of staff meetings. Show your staff that their suggestions are important and valued. If suggestion review isn’t prioritized, employees won’t feel motivated to contribute.
Make Suggestion Discussion a Group Thing
No suggestion, regardless of how small it is, should stop at the review group. All suggestions should be discussed with the whole team at a staff meeting. Welcome input from every employee.
A submission isn’t closed as soon as a change is implemented. Each submission is a process. When a change is implemented, make it a point to review the impact once some time has passed. Circle back with the employee who submitted the suggestion and ask for input. If the change you’ve made is insufficient, bring the suggestion back to the team for further brainstorming.
Forming new habits takes time. Your staff may struggle to embrace the suggestion box. If weeks or months are passing between submissions, you’ll need to find out why. Consider implementing a reward process where employees can vote on who has contributed the most valuable suggestions across a period of time, and offer a small token of appreciation.
The suggestion box is one of the oldest and simplest tools for facilitating innovation, and it’s also one of the most effective. In a world where AI and algorithms often take the lead, don’t underestimate the value of keeping things simple.