What to do when you don’t get credit for your ideas

In today’s modern workplace, feedback and idea sharing are highly encouraged, fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Employees are actively encouraged to participate in staff surveys to provide valuable insights to enhance the organisation. However, I spoke to someone recently who expressed their frustration: within their company, suggestions are submitted anonymously. This makes it challenging for them to receive the recognition they rightfully deserve. They feel this has impacted their career growth.

How can you make sure you gain recognition for your ideas and suggestions? 

1. Use examples of previous success as a data point, rather than an opportunity for complaint.

You want to highlight, if you can, to someone who would care about you, that you had these great ideas and you’re so happy they’ve been implemented! Just sow the seed at this stage, don’t look for credit in retrospect. Seeking credit may look mercenary and they could say others had the idea, too. You’re just pleased they’ve been implemented and you’d love opportunities to contribute more directly in future, if there is the space.

2. Try to give ideas in a way that can be attributed to you

Move away from sharing good ideas in anonymous form. Either add your name to your ideas, and then follow up with a relevant manager later (cut and paste screengrabs of your answers into a file so you have them to hand later). If the ideas turn into anything worthwhile, you can mention them in appraisal and reward conversations. 

Another mechanism could be to contact those in charge of the feedback system and ask if there is a way to feed your data and ideas in, but in a way that you can receive credit for them as you have had a number of your (great) ideas used in the past and haven’t received credit. Of course, all said with a smile and a sense of wanting to help and really enjoying working with ideas and problem solving, so that they can see this is coming from a good place.

Also, are there any committees or volunteer elements that you could sign up for in the organisation that handle business improvement or ideas development? These could be a really good way to move things forward for you and to further demonstrate your leadership and management skills while you’re at it. And if not, is there a way to start one? Could that be another good idea that has a direct benefit to you? Work out which of your seniors you would need to ask and seek their permission.

3. Check you’re in the right field

It also makes me wonder, when people ask these sorts of questions, if they are on the right career path. If ideas that are all being accepted are flowing through you but there isn’t a formal mechanism for you to benefit from them, is there a role out there that would suit you more where you can be properly credited for your ideas? Have you looked for leadership roles in your sector, or function, which are more about ideas generation than your current role is?

Three resources on benefiting from your creativity at work:

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