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Monday, November 9, 2020

7 Ways to Encourage Innovation in the Workplace

Smart leaders know they have to maintain a competitive edge within their industries in order to sustain their slice of the marketplace pie. It remains essential, therefore, that a business continually improves what it offers and how it operates. But ideas for improvement that lead to success don’t just happen–it takes a concerted effort to encourage innovation from your staff.

There are many easy-to-implement ideas that can help creativity and passion flow within your organization, one's that can ensure your company doesn’t get left in the dark ages.

Give employees a reason to care.

The fact is, if people aren’t feeling connected to your company, there’s little incentive for them to be innovative. Make sure you keep your team in the loop on your firm’s strategies and challenges, and invite their input. Employees who are involved early on in processes and plans will be motivated to see them through to completion. Their active participation will fuel more ideas than if they learn of initiatives second-hand.

Empower your employees to make decisions and take action.

People who are trusted to take safe risks and attempt new ways of doing things just may stumble across that next great business solution. Be careful about being too critical when things go wrong, though, because employees will take note. No one wants to be the centre of negative attention, and people will hold back on making suggestions if they’re worried about potential consequences.

Don’t make staff jump through hoops.

You may think that it’s easy for employees to offer their ideas, but is it really? If managers are constantly behind closed doors and meetings tend to be one-way discussions, the message to staff is that their feedback isn’t welcome. Make sure you and other leaders keep your office doors open as much as possible, let employees know directly that their ideas are always valued and keep formal discussions on a two-way street.

Consider which internal processes might be stifling innovation. For instance, it can be demoralizing if recommendations must go through multiple layers of approvals in the organization and take a significant time before they’re implemented, if at all. Look for ways to streamline the process so people can see their good ideas in action quickly.

Reward employees for ongoing learning,

There are lots of ways you can encourage your employees to expand their horizons and broaden their skills. It's a win-win, too, since they benefit from new experiences and opportunities for advancement and you benefit from better-rounded and more confident employees.

Shake things up.

There’s no better way to get your employees thinking outside the box than to assign them new and exciting projects outside the scope of their daily activities. While some employees may initially react with a fear of failure, ultimately they will be engaged by the chance to try something new in your supportive “no idea is a bad idea” work environment.

Allow your employees time to innovate.

Innovation needs to be part of a companies’ day-to-day work. In order to do so, there needs to be both the time and budget allocated for experimentation and pushing internal products, sites and teams to the next level.

Reward success.

The reward for succeeding is higher than the cost of failure. Their team members are willing to try an idea because if the idea succeeds, the company does better. No one is labeled a failure if an idea doesn’t work or achieve different outcomes from what was expected. In fact, what is emphasized is a maximum return on learning, regardless of the outcomes. The cost of not trying is higher than the cost of learning in the long term.

There are many ways that you can start to bring innovation to your company, and major change doesn’t happen all at once. Start small, with any one of the above ideas, and slowly layer in more until your company is a pinnacle of creativity and innovation.

The future requires innovative thinking and it requires a shift away from thinking of innovation as a concept and instead as a mindset that needs to be embedded into the minds of all workers. When organizations have a dominant focus on innovation as an inherent requirement of every single worker we will see a rapid acceleration in the improvement of both customer experience and employee experience in the future of work.

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