Encouraging innovation at work takes some effort and is what sets your business apart from the competition. Building a team that is excited to contribute can help your business grow and prosper. Innovation is the foundation of every business.
Here’s 7 ways to encourage innovation in your workplace:
1. Invite Their Input
Employees who care about the business, get to hear about upcoming changes and challenges are going to feel more connected. An employee who feels more connected is much more likely to share their ideas. This type of team is more likely to see an idea through to completion and be happy to help expand the idea from the beginning to implementation. Employees who are invited to give input have more of an incentive for them to be innovative. Let employees know that their ideas are always welcome and valued.
2. Defeat Stress
Defeating stress is important. A team needs to be relaxed so they are able to focus. A team that learns to defeat stress is going to be able to participate and be more creative. Be sure your employees are not overworked. Share and delegate workloads or consider hiring temporary help during peak seasons. Encourage breaks, lunch, walks and vacations. Promote work-life balance and do your best to keep everyone fresh and focused. Think creatively as they are watching you to be their role model.
3. Have An Encouraging Atmosphere
Building an encouraging atmosphere will promote innovation. Encourage short term job swaps to experience and get a fresh perspective on another position or another department. Encourage a specific time to evaluate another company and see how they are doing things. Encourage everyone to courageously try a new idea. Encourage your team to look for new and improved ways to do even routine tasks.
Respond positively to all ideas even the ones that you know have no chance to ever get off the ground. Never be discouraging or belittling. If a team member feels they will be mocked or the object of jokes, they will not share ideas in the future. You never know where the next great idea that provides a solution to a long term problem will come from. Always be open to listen to any suggestion or new idea. Learn from even the worst idea you have ever heard and never punish the employee whose idea didn’t work out. Some risks will pay off well and some won’t. Keeping a relaxed positive atmosphere is going to be more conducive for creativity.
4. Train Your Team
Investing in training your team can help your business in the long run. You may want to consider such training as brainstorming, mind mapping and lateral thinking. Help your team develop their skills in creative problem solving and presenting ideas.
Establish brainstorming sessions on a regular basis. You can also place a suggestion or idea box so anyone on your team can drop in their terrific thoughts at any time.
6. Implement ideas
Make time to implement the best ideas. You’ve got to take the risk even when change is challenging. If you aren’t able to implement ideas, then your team will quit sharing their thoughts.
7. Reward innovation
Reward the ideas, the suggestions and of course, the ones that are implemented. This is not a competition, it’s a reward for ideas as not everyone can be creative all the time. Reward those that are ready and available for their ideas without punishing someone who doesn’t present an idea.
Provide the welcoming atmosphere and innovation will create an even better workplace.