Our team concentrated on automation & integration as a topic for March, and I quickly became obsessed with the idea of demonstrating a way to create an online suggestion box using Microsoft Forms, Teams, and Power Automate – and do so in under 10 minutes.
Why? Because traditional suggestion boxes are outdated and can cause more problems than they’re meant to solve.
Say goodbye to the traditional suggestion box
In my younger, much more satirical years, I worked at a small business that had a suggestion box. Old and made of hardwood, it had an ornate border carved into each side and you could tell it was a box that someone put genuine effort into crafting. It sat in the corner of a supply area, collecting dust and coffee rings as business marched forward around it. Alone and neglected, potentially full of ideas that the business could benefit from, it just sat there taking up space.
One day, I decided to leave a note in the suggestion box – suggesting that it be moved to another part of the office with higher traffic. A few months went by and the suggestion box remained where it always had been.
Next, I placed a small piece of tape on the suggestion box’s lock. A year passed by and the tape was exactly as I left it.
I then left a new suggestion in the box each month for nearly 5 years, only stopping when it began to better resemble a box of tissues than a way to help improve company culture.
Long story short, suggestion boxes stifle ideas. They’re a black hole where ideas that have the potential to improve your business disappear. Combine this with the recent shift to work-from-home for many and there’s very little reason for the suggestion box to continue as a physical item in an office.
Say hello to the suggestion box for the modern workplace
The main reason for having a suggestion box is pretty simple. Business leaders want input from their team members. They’re looking for ideas to improve how work is performed, how company culture is shaped, and other ways the workplace can be made more productive.
While it’s well-intentioned, the traditional suggestion box doesn’t allow this to happen. An online suggestion box, however, opens up opportunities to create an experience that builds trust and enables privacy at the same time.
Microsoft Forms is a handy app found in Microsoft 365. Pair it with other apps such as Teams and Power Automate, and you have the ingredients for a suggestion box that can be used from anywhere, the ability for a “receipt” to be sent to a team member after they’ve submitted a suggestion, and a Teams-based notification to ensure the right team members are aware of suggestion box activity:
Following the steps in the walkthrough above will result in a very simple, but effective and modern approach to a suggestion box.