San Mateo Times September 15th 1955 page 2:
"Ray A. Hammerstrom, a roller at the Pittsburgh factory of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, had an idea worth 15,000 dollars. Events leading up to his happy dream began in the summer of 1953 when a new 10-inch bar mill was installed at the works. The switch that controlled the delivery of the straight bars to the cooling bed were not functioning. Company engineers couldn't find a solution. Hammerstrom made some rough sketches for a new design with no success. That was until one afternoon when he took a cat nap. His visionary catnap revealed the solution and won him a check for 15,000 dollars, the largest award the firm ever made to an employee for an idea."
Fact is, whatever amount Jones and Laughlin paid out to Hammerstrom, the return they received for his idea was infinitely higher. Jones and Laughlin knew they would be paid back in spades. But, in spite of the huge benefits implementing employee ideas, few organizations invite their input. History is replete with examples where new products, innovations and ways to improve the organization began with an employee idea.
Consider why it makes big time sense to encourage and reward employee ideas. How can it improve workforce engagement and product innovation? Why is listening to employee ideas a smart management practice?
Bringing in the collective wisdom for the greater good is wise because it promises to produce great ideas and increased benefits for your entire organization.
Here are some examples and what you can do to boost your profits with employee ideas.