Freedom of Association

Case Study - Suggestion boxes

“I want to install a suggestion box at my workplace – how do I do this?”

Suggestion boxes can be used as a basic step to give workers an anonymous means of raising issues with management. If you use this, it is important that:

  • Workers know what the suggestion box is for – raising workplace issues but also suggestions for improvement

  • Workers can raise issues in their own language – if you have workers whose first language is not English, they may not be able to write in English very well or feel embarrassed. You can then get their comments translated. It is helpful to ask workers to note down which language they are writing in.

  • Management have to actively respond to workers comments and display their responses on a notice board that workers can read easily. This needs to be done regularly and responses prompt. In order to build trust in the system, you need to show that you are taking it seriously and it can be an effective mechanism for workers to use. This does not mean you have to solve every issue raised or grant every request. If you do not act on the suggestion, then you should let workers know why.

A suggestion box is not a replacement for a union or a committee but can be a helpful and anonymous channel of communication.