I've enough years of experience under my belt to remember the days when suggestion boxes were the latest fad in improvement strategies. The fad didn't last long because they were often cumbersome to administer and often the "thanks for the suggestion, but no thanks" didn't help employee morale. But the idea of seeking suggestions and recommendations from employees who are in the trenches was not, in and of itself, a bad one. The repository of valuable information residing in a company's labor force is one of its most important assets. So how to access?
Well, a simple way is to ask. If you have a mentoring program, you've got two individuals (mentor and mentoree) who are strategizing and building competency and self-confidence in the mentoree. This discussion, no doubt, often results in new ideas/suggestions on how to make the current workplace better. For this reason, if you are a mentoring program manager, why not ask your mentors and mentorees what ideas/suggestions they can come up with to improve the organization? It's a question that can be easily added at the end of a survey or at a meeting. You may not necessarily get a lot of suggestions but you might get the one that makes the effort pay off. We often ask at the end of a program survey what recommendations participants might make to improve the mentoring program. Find out what suggestions you get when you ask: "What ideas/suggestions might you have to improve what we do as a company?" You might be surprised with some of the suggestions you get!