Leaders – Spring clean your schemes

One of my favourite things is to walk round a company and see all the great things they offer their employees to keep them engaged. I absolutely love to read notice boards brimming with initiatives that individuals can get involved in:

–          Spend a day volunteering for a charity of your choice

–          Raise money for a local charity on your own or as part of a team

–          Suggestion Schemes. Share your great idea

–          Become a buddy and support a new recruit

–          Social Clubs. Go on trips with your colleagues.

–          Focus Groups. Giving feedback to managers about what it’s like to work here.

–          Well being Days. De-stress in your lunch hour with some yoga, or a massage.

This list is absolutely not exhaustive and there are so many ways that organisations can care for their employees and keep them engaged.

As Richard Branson said: “Train people well enough so they can leave – treat them well enough so they don’t want to”

Yes, the list is endless what organisations can do for their employees, but just posting the ideas on a notice board is simply not enough.

I remember once working with a company who had an ideas suggestion scheme. Everyone knew about it and it was very well publicised around the building. Walking round I marvelled at this scheme. I loved it. It was everywhere. What a great idea and it showed everyone that ideas were welcome and cherished.

However, I never take things at face value and I started to ask a few employees about how this scheme worked in practice and got a completely different response.

“It looks like a good idea doesn’t it? Shame it doesn’t work.”

“No-one uses it…the same suggestions have been in the boxes for months.”

“I had an idea once about 6 months ago…no-one has ever got back to me. I won’t bother anymore.”

As it turned out, not one employee used the scheme anymore, down to the simple fact that ideas were never followed up. Once an idea was shared…absolutely nothing happened. It just stayed in limbo for ever and a day, until it was taken down again. No-one got back to the individual and nothing was done with the idea. At all! This left the employee thinking…”What was the point in that?”

It didn’t take long for word to get round that it was pointless and pretty soon the posters on the notice boards were nothing more than wallpaper.

Having engaged employees is absolutely critical. Employees are the most valuable resource you have so it is vital to take care of them. So, have a good look at all of your engagement initiatives and give them a good spring clean. Ask your teams for their input. Go through all of your schemes and if you don’t use them anymore, and no-one wants them…be honest and clear them out. Others you may want to have a re-think and re-launch making sure that you have the processes to back them up and follow through so that everyone has faith in the scheme from the word go.

Don’t just launch with a big bang and forget about them. To keep them alive everyone needs to be bought in and understand just what they can get involved in and what it means to them.


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