According to HR Grapevine, the Chief Executive at Morrisons David Potts has decreed that all 2,000 headquarters office employees have to roll up their sleeves and spend at least one week per year working on the shop floor. The reasoning behind this is that it will allow the people in the top ranks of the company to really listen to what their customers and colleagues have to say.
Although this is a laudable intention, listening to ideas and suggestions can be greatly improved if there is an apparent process behind it. As an idea management software company, we cannot help but comment on the fact that this approach may not be the most efficient or transparent. Any ideas or suggestions that arise may be subjected to the listener’s bias, misunderstood or just simply forgotten. It will be hard for the directors at Morrisons to have a clear picture of what really is being said, without an easy to follow procedure that includes everyone.
Waitrose have had this concern and have been trying different ways of listening to partners. Having trialled their own version of Idea Spotlight since July last year in 6 branches, they have managed to launch 24 challenges and collect 204 ideas in only 5 months. The advantage is clear: Waitrose knows exactly which and how many ideas are being submitted and so does anyone else that has access to the system. Attribution is also clear – whoever has the best ideas will be easily identified and recognised and recognition is a key element in engaging employees. Partners can not only add new ideas but also add more elements and comment on previously existing ones, building up and fostering a spirit of collaboration between colleagues. In sum, by using an idea management platform Waitrose has made the whole process engaging, inclusive and transparent and we’re sure this would not go amiss at Morrisons.