Sharing ideas can be difficult, especially if you work in an office environment that you’re not 100% comfortable in. However, employees are what make a company work. New ideas on processes, products and how the company runs in general are vital to helping a company move forward. If you run a business, you need to foster an environment that’s conducive to employee sharing.

How Can I Get My Employees to Speak Up?

Everyone has different motivations. For example, you may be motivated by praise from your boss or colleagues. Others are motivated simply by seeing new, better processes implemented. Before you can begin to brainstorm on how you can encourage your employees to share, you need to have a better understanding of what motivates them.

Everyone will be a little different. It’s important to sit one-on-one with each of your employees to get to know them better and figure out how you can motivate each of them to speak up. This discussion will give you a foundation for better employee sharing. Then we have a few tips to help get you started.

  • Encourage your employees to talk to you. While saying “I have an open door policy” is one thing, actually having one is entirely different. Let your employees know that your door is always open, but set aside an hour or two per week where you literally leave your door open and encourage individuals to come in for a chat, whether work-related or not. This is a big step in getting people to start opening up.
  • Hold brainstorming sessions. Some are intimidated by coming to their boss one-on-one and prefer to have others in the room to support them and to bounce ideas off of. Include everyone in these sessions, but keep in mind that not all will speak up. Keep the sessions fairly short to avoid wasting time and praise anyone who presents an idea – whether you use it or not. The idea may spark others, creating a piggyback effect.
  • Ask for feedback and give it in return. You ended up in your position for a reason. It’s important to continually keep growing to stay in it and move up. Ask anyone you manage for feedback on how you’re doing and what you could do better to make their jobs easier. Try to do this in an open format so no one feels cornered or pressured, but make it clear that the door is open and that the sharing of ideas is a two way street.
  • Reward them. This ties back into figuring out what motivates people. When people share ideas, reward them with praise, bonuses, free lunches – whatever it takes to keep the wheels turning. Shake it up once in awhile. Consider having a competition or contest to motivate your more competitive employees. No matter what you do, just remember that your employees are what keep the business running. Treat them well and they’ll help you.

How This Benefits You

Employee sharing opens up the door for communication between you and your employees. When everyone can be open and help each other with honest feedback, the whole team benefits. You’ll be able to improve your bottom line, your employees well-being and your clients’ overall satisfaction. It’s a win-win-win situation!