Thursday, October 01, 2009

Whatever Happened to Employee Suggestions

That's my reaction to the use of Web 2.0 techniques to elicit ideas from employees.  Back in the olden days, when typewriters existed and were made of wood, ASCS had an employee suggestion program--write up an idea, send it up the line, to some near-sighted bureaucrat who would turn it down with all the reasons why it wouldn't work, was too expensive, was inappropriate, wasn't invented in DC, etc. etc.

A few suggestions were approved--but that was tricky.  Personnel had a formula for determining the award amount for approving a suggestion.  Something that would apply nationwide was worth more than something just for a state or commodity.  So you had to figure out how to slot an approved suggestion into the mix with other suggestions so as to get an award amount that made sense.

One that was approved was for field employees to use the IBM data handling utilities  (originally it was the Data File Utility, then upgraded to Query/36.) on the System/36  to do things without waiting upon DC and the Kansas City programmers. We had a struggle to get the right award amount approved for that.  So it's nice to see DC is still occasionally using the software, even 20 years later.

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