As part of the effort to achieve responsible spending at City Hall, Mayoral candidate Christian Provenzano wants the City of Sault Ste. Marie tap into its workforce for money-saving ideas.
Provenzano is proposing that the City adopt an Employee Innovation Program (EIP). The program would provide processes and incentives to encourage city employees to submit cost-saving ideas to senior management.
Provenzano says, “The City has a large workforce with diverse skills and expertise. I’m confident its employees have many creative and practical ideas to save money, create efficiencies and deliver better services. An Employee Innovation Program will provide the engagement, framework and incentives to make these ideas reality.”
Encouraging employee innovation through official programs has been vital to the success of many admired companies including Google, 3M and AT&T. Public sector organizations have also begun tapping their employees for cost-saving ideas. The Government of Canada formally incorporated an EIP in 2013.
“There are many savings opportunities that City employees could explore,” remarks Provenzano. “Ideas that come to mind include changing work processes, making better use of technology, using different materials or sourcing supplies differently, and adopting open-source software for IT functions.”
In Provenzano’s vision, employees would submit suggestions to a designated coordinator. Ideas considered realistic would then be passed on for managerial review. Approved ideas would be implemented, and their financial impact would be evaluated by the finance department. Proponents of adopted suggestions would be recognized according to a pre-determined award structure.
The program would be subject to certain provisions. Savings achieved through budgetary decisions, such as a manager not spending all of their allocated funds, would not be eligible. Likewise, suggestions made in “bad faith” such as eliminating city departments or discontinuing services that benefit the public or employees would not be considered.
Says Provenzano, “To build a strong culture of responsible spending in Sault Ste. Marie, we have to embrace change and continually look for better ways of doing things. The experience and knowledge of our municipal employees makes them one of our best resources for identifying improvements. Establishing an Employee Innovation Program would be an excellent way to tap into their ideas for the benefit of the whole community.”