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Time to say goodbye to the employee suggestion box

Say bye bye to the box -- the employee suggestion box, that is, advises Patrick Ibarra, cofounder and partner of the management consulting firm Mejorando Group.

Speaking at the Next Generation of Government Summit July 28, Ibarra joked that feds should get rid of the suggestion box because it is only used to make three suggestions: "fire my boss," "bring hot food" and "raise my pay."

Instead of the box, Ibarra said feds should engage in discussions with their coworkers about how to be more innovative, stretch their imaginations and be curious about the world beyond the walls of their agency.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Reader Comments

Tue, Sep 13, 2011 Brad

Suggestion boxes should move online. Tools such as IdeaShare,, let employees, citizens, partners, etc., collaborate openly to collect, elaborate, and rank ideas. Making the suggestion box open & on-line is the next evolution.

Tue, Aug 2, 2011

The suggestion box is not useless! With today's management, employees figure it's a waste of time trying to tell their manager who is resistent to change. With proper procedures, management will be held accountable to address suggestions. Our procedure actually requires the suggestions to be listed in a spreadsheet for all to see and the response from management as to whether or not the suggestion can be implemented and why.

Mon, Aug 1, 2011

In Fed Gov, suggestion programs are outside the regular chain of command, and there is an audit trail. Most, in theory, support anonymous suggestions, but in practice, the person tasked and suspensed to evaluate the suggestion, can figure out who submitted it, simply from the 'inside information' it contains. Most of the programs are not managed very well, and indeed many suggestions are stupid ones. So the programs may not be cost effective. But they do provide a valuable service, in that they let employees blow off steam, and get their ideas out there in front of senior management.

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 Montana

Suggestion Boxes are a nonofficial way of going past your supervisor to make recommendations that your supervisor does not like. Assuming they are read once they are placed in the box.

Mon, Aug 1, 2011

If things were so bad that the only way you could get your ideas heard was to put them in anonymous suggestion box, they actually do need to fire the bosses.

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