“That’s the way we’ve always done it,” is no longer an acceptable response to why we do things the way we do them…if it ever was! Finding ways to improve the work we do every day is what the “Let your bright idea soar!” employee idea initiative is all about.

Since the initiative was launched late last year, hundreds of ideas have been submitted. Every idea has been reviewed and prioritized based on perceived savings and ease of implementation.

One of the first ideas to be fully implemented is a cost-saving and resource saving idea to change Saskatoon Health Region’s listing in the white pages and yellow pages phone directory. It was submitted by a team of communications and telecommunications employees. Every year, the Region pays more than $80,000 to list hundreds of phone numbers in the phone book. The team questioned the value of this annual expenditure. Did all those numbers really need to be listed there? After doing some checking with various departments, the answer was no.

“We started looking at the listings and, even though we are immersed in the work, they were confusing for us. We started asking people about how they get information and by far, the resounding response was to use the Internet,” says communications consultant Rosine Garabedian who has been working with telecommunications analyst Emily Retzlaff and administrative assistant Lindsay Thiessen to devise the plan. “We came up with a plan to reduce the phone book listing to keep it simple and accessible for people who still use it and to enhance our online listing on the Region’s website.” The idea will save money, be more user friendly and reduce work time for staff who update the listing each year.

“The phone book listing idea is a perfect example of re-examining what has become standard practice,” says Nilesh Kavia, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services. “This team questioned why. And they didn’t accept ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ as an answer.”