Why should SMEs listen to their staff more?

Businesses might be missing out on thousands of opportunities to boost their bottom line, simply because they fail to listen to their workers, according to new research.


Wazoku, an idea management firm, has suggested that up to 18,000 ideas a year could be missed, based on information collated as part of their EveryDay Innovation Report.


The research focused on organisations across a range of sectors that had an average of 5,200 employees, and found that each worker will suggest six ways to improve a business on average during the course of a year.


Just 43% of those ideas are acknowledged, resulting in thousands of potential missed opportunities for UK companies.


Of the ideas that are recognised, some 39% were found to positively impact upon a business, opening up the potential for further innovation and development if other concepts were also to be considered.


The research found that more than half of organisations did not have a process in place to manage ideas from staff members, while a similar proportion of employees feel that their firm is not doing enough to utilise ideas either.


Nearly two thirds of employees said they feel their ideas go completely unnoticed, with many blaming a business culture that does not encourage their creativity.


Taking advantage of good ideas is essential for businesses, especially those that are trying to grow, as the concepts put forward might help them to cut costs or generate more profits.


This has a direct impact on the bottom line of the firm and using ideas could drastically alter the outlook for a company – especially if finances are tight or if they are in difficulty.


In such situations a boost to finances is welcome, not only as it eases the burden on the firm but also as it can reduce the likelihood of insolvency.


Alternatively, a firm may wish to undergo a restructuring to streamline operations and reduce unnecessary spending.


Firms that use ideas effectively may discover further options too, but they will need to ensure that they have the processes in place to make sure concepts are not ignored.


By Phil Smith

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