When Ford Motor Company went to the drawing board to design
a new minivan, it was armed with input from a cadre of very
important users mothers. How better to determine the
shape of a new vehicle than to involve those who use it most?
The state of Idaho took a similar approach when it decided
to ask employees in the trenches for input about making state
government programs and processes more efficient,
and ultimately save both financial and human resources. Legislators
last year created an incentive program that will reward employees
for innovative ways of achieving those efficiencies.
The Employee Suggestion Program (ESP) officially began July
1, 2003. Transportation department employees are invited to
participate by identifying ways their efforts can be accomplished
more efficiently. Just as important, they can look at other
areas of state government and apply the same test.
According to ITD policy, the program objective is to recognize
and encourage employees to exercise initiative and to develop
suggestions that identify specific problems and propose valid
solutions which will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness
of the department through increased productivity, reduced
costs, safer working conditions, or expedited public service.
Suggestions can result in a one-time savings or permanent,
on-going savings, explained Mary Harker, ITD Human Resource
manager. Her office will administer the program for ITD employees.
Not only will employee suggestions improve operating efficiency
or generate budget savings, it also can be financially rewarding
for individuals who conceive the idea. Proven successes can
earn a permanent employee a bonus of up to $1,000, Harker
To offer a cost savings/efficiency suggestion, employees
need to complete form ITD-0061, which is available in the
departments Human Resource Manual. Look
under Administrative Services on the Intranet, then follow
the links to Human Resource Services, HRS manual, chapter
Completed forms should be submitted to the employees
supervisor for review and comment. Deserving submissions then
are forwarded to Human Resource Services and on to a formal
The panel will work closely with the appropriate supervisor
according to ITDs ESP policy.
A subject matter expert will be consulted if necessary,
in an attempt to ensure that the suggestion is original, to
verify the magnitude of the impact and to determine whether
the idea is within scope or is an expectation of an employees
job. The ESP review panel will meet on a regular basis
and assume the following duties:
Review suggestions prior to meeting to evaluate the
merits of the suggestion.
Request additional information from coordinator (HR
manager) or subject matter experts within five days of meeting
Evaluate suggestions and determine implementation
and level of award. The evaluation process shall include consideration
of the following: Originality, value, feasibility, extent,
estimated costs, and savings.
Examples of such cost savings or efficiencies might include