How leaders can encourage their employees to share their ideas

Leaders need to know that, when it comes to their teams, just because the weekly team meetings are quiet, it doesn’t mean no one has anything to say. We know by studies that, more often than not, most employees have thoughts, suggestions, and criticisms to offer, but they don’t particularly share them because they don’t know how their leaders will respond to them if they do.

A notable way to help your business grow and progress is to listen to your employees and their ideas. So what can you, as a leader, do to get them to share more? We’ll be sharing some of the best ways to get your employees to share their valuable ideas.

1. Really listen to employees

When your employees speak up or want to give feedback, let them deliver their message, and then double back to make sure that you heard them correctly, and you can proceed from there. Your teams will see that you are an empathetic listener, and they will probably speak up more often and feel more secure in their ideas. By being a better listener, you not only give them the opportunity to express their ideas freely, but you also have more time to think about the success of the idea that’s being communicated.

And because we know, that you as a leader, will be busy more often than not, we created Agreed. The platform will give your team the opportunity to fully share their ideas, calculate their value and cost of implementation to make it easier for you to find the most valuable ideas.

2. Provide incentives

Another great way to encourage your employees to share their ideas and/or feedback at work is by creating a culture that doesn’t punish people for giving feedback, speaking out, or offering new ideas. Rather than having a company culture that’s based on fear, take the opportunity to create an environment where employees are rewarded for having a different opinion, giving honest feedback, or bringing a different idea forward.

Providing the right mix of incentives is guaranteed to make your employees eager to share more of their ideas. Some employees will like money, so you can give them a cash reward for every good idea of theirs that you put into practice. Other people relish status, so maybe give them a month of parking by the front door. Determine what rewards will work well for your employees, and offer them as compensation for putting forward their ideas.

3. Show how ideas make a difference

The biggest reason why employees are more often than not hesitant to share their idea is that they feel like it’s not going to be worth their time. Even if they might feel listened to, perhaps they rarely, if ever, see their concerns being taken seriously or their ideas having an impact on the company. It’s very important for you, as a leader, to not only make an effort to sit down and listen to your employees but also to take that information and insight and use it well.

With the Agreed software, you’ll have a golden opportunity to show your team that it is worthwhile to put their ideas forward and that you’ll also provide advice for them. Prove to your team that their feedback is highly valuable to your leadership strategy, and show them how you are incorporating their input. When your employees see that they are being heard and are part of positive change, it will be easier to get them to speak out, share their ideas and engage in the workplace.

4. Make the process fun

You don’t have to just put out a suggestion box. Instead, involve your employees in the idea-generation process by rolling out a new program to good-natured fanfare or implementing a new tool for idea-sharing. Consider gathering a team of employees that will review ideas with management in a relaxed environment.

Incorporate idea events and “games” to have employees compete with their best ideas for a prize. Not only do they have fun, but in the end, you as a leader end up with great business improvement ideas that will be ready to develop and implement immediately because of Agreed.

5. Act on great ideas

An idea-sharing tool is useless if nothing ever happens. If an employee’s improvement idea leads to a significant change, then publicize that change. If you recognize the employee and show the whole company the benefit of their idea, it will mean a lot to your teams. People respect leaders who are humble enough to give an employee credit for a job well done. When the teams see that their ideas matter, it will encourage people to become serious about sharing their ideas.