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Want to be creative? Ask 5 questions

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in Hiring,Human Resources

As the person closest to your work, you’re also the best one to identify ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with your job—which is exactly what most C-suite executives and business owners focus on. Just because they don’t ask for your innovative ideas doesn’t mean they’re not interested.

Get your creative juices flowing with these five questions:

1. “What would make this a better place to work?” The employee-retention formula goes like this: A happy employee equals less time and money recruiting and training a replacement.

No doubt your managers want to keep talent. If you have an idea for creating an exceptional workplace—particularly if it’s a simple one, like adjusting the office temperature—share it.

2. “How can we enhance customer service?” What do customers complain about? What do they like?

For example, at one organization, the staff kept receiving complaints from clients about their business hours not being convenient, says Pamela Bilbrey, co-author of the new book Ordinary Greatness: It’s Where You Least Expect It … Everywhere. Staff let the owner know what they were hearing from clients, because he would have had no idea otherwise.

“Simply shifting the store opening time up one hour increased customer satisfaction and sales,” Bilbrey says.

“What would you do away with?” Just because a process (or a form or a standing meeting) exists doesn’t mean it’s necessary. 

“Too often we allow ourselves to get caught up in the things we think we should be doing rather than really taking a look at what works and what doesn’t,” says co-author Brian Jones. Your goal: Nix tired or outdated tasks and procedures.

4. “What would you do if you were footing the bill?” Spending an extra $50 a month on paper products may not seem like much, but if you put yourself in a business owner’s shoes, that money might look like an extra $600 per year that could be drawing interest in the bank.

5. “What is working well, and how can we make it even better?” Make a list of the things that make your job easier or help make you more successful and why. Then ask, “How could those things be even better? What will help systems continue to be successful?”

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