Blog - How to Encourage Innovation in Your Team

How to Encourage Innovation in Your Team

The speed of change is one of the top challenges facing businesses today. Staying competitive requires flexibility and an innovative mindset. However, “while 63% of companies are hiring chief innovation officers (CIOs) and more than 90% are using new technologies to support the innovation process, many still struggle to create and encourage a truly innovative culture”. That’s why many organizations are looking for practical ways to drive innovation in the workplace. Here are seven strategies your company can use to encourage creativity.

Why inspiring creativity is so hard

According to a survey by Robert Half, 35% of chief financial officers said the biggest roadblock to organisational breakthroughs is a lack of innovative ideas. All too often, workers find it difficult to be innovative at work when bogged down with day-to-day tasks or excessive bureaucracy. Some businesses don’t promote a culture of continual improvement or encourage cognitive diversity, so work becomes stagnant. Additionally, resistance to change often stifles creativity and team innovation.

Shift your cultural mindset

Business firms can stimulate innovation by adopting the Silicon Valley style mentality characterised by okay-to-fail, out-of-the-box thinking. For example, employees should feel comfortable to try new ideas in the workplace without facing backlash for mistakes or failure. Instead, mistakes should be viewed as an opportunity to learn, emboldening informed decisions in the future. The most innovative employees also tend to be the most engaged. Make sure employees feel connected, appreciated, and involved in decision-making so they feel like they are an integral part of the business.

Seven ways to encourage innovation

Competitive organisations are learning how to encourage innovation with strategies that focus on improving employee experience and collaboration. If your business is looking for new ways to stimulate creativity and increase competitiveness, here are seven ways to encourage innovation from your team:
1. Embolden the practise of intrapreneurship. Encourage intrapreneurship among your workforce so that all employees can bring their ideas directly to the company instead of leaving and starting their own business. Set up an innovation team that can work with employees to refine their ideas and act as a sounding board.
2. Reward innovative habits. Create an atmosphere where daydreaming and experimenting is valued. Your organisation could build in some time during the work day that allows employees to create, like Google’s 80/20 rule or 3M’s 15% time. Be sure to recognise and reward employees for trying something new—even celebrate failure so they’re not afraid to make mistakes.
3. Offer something different. To get employees thinking differently, try assigning them to new projects that are outside their usual scope of duties or activities. Ultimately, your business will cultivate a supportive environment where employees feel more comfortable thinking outside of the box.
4. Minimise bureaucracy and red tape. Employees want to share ideas and feel like they are doing meaningful work. Make sure you break down the barriers and encourage two-way discussions between managers and staff. Streamline processes that are getting in the way of good ideas.
5. Maintain work/life balance. Modern professionals value work/life balance and it’s an important aspect of keeping your workforce feeling energised and refreshed. “When people feel overworked, their last priority is trying to be creative; they just want to get through what must be done at the moment.”
6. Model and promote innovative behaviours. Make continuous improvement one of your company’s core values and embrace it at every level. Encourage executives and managers to lead by example.
7. Create and nurture a collaborative work environment. Make your organisation a safe place to brainstorm. Support team unity and encourage good manager/employee relationships. A supportive culture not only leads to increased productivity and innovation, but also higher levels of engagement and retention.

Elevate work with employee-centric strategies

The most successful businesses are making innovation a top priority. Build trust, increase job satisfaction, and provide meaningful work to get the most from your modern workforce. Finding new ways to drive innovation is crucial to your ability to stay competitive and win the war for talent. Asure Software’s HR as a Service can help your organisation stay focused on core business objectives, maximise talent potential, and maintain compliance.

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