In today’s fast-changing society—and business world—it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends. You may ask yourself if it’s even worthwhile chasing some trends? In business, the answer is more often yes than no.
Your industry knowledge and ability to adapt to forward-thinking trends signals that you move with the times and can keep you one step ahead of the competition. So, what is an important trend at the moment? Workplace innovation. If you want next year to be surprisingly successful, you need to incorporate workplace innovation into your business plans. Here’s why.
What is Workplace Innovation?
Incorporating workplace innovation into your business means creating a shift in company culture. Instead of having employees simply do what you tell them, you allow and encourage your team to think creatively, and as a result, you collectively improve varied aspects of your business.
Their actions and ideas can relate to:
- Improving general office practices
- Changing outdated processes that inform how you do business
- Sharing ideas to overcome new challenges the business or industry faces
- Suggesting new ways to improve individual skills
This paints a picture of a much more involved workforce. And here’s why you need to start working towards this immediately.
3 Ways Workplace Innovation Affects Your Business
Will you settle for an obedient workforce or shift to a more collaborative one? This decision determines the growth your business will experience in years to come.
Attract the best talent
When you’re interviewing a new job applicant, as much as you’re looking for red flags, they’re doing the same with you. Apart from job security, applicants are looking at other aspects too:
- Respect and participation: Their opinions should matter to leadership. They want to feel managers listen to them and that they play an active role in achieving company goals.
- Growth: They want to know their employers will actively help them grow their careers by improving their knowledge, encouraging them to attend relevant seminars, or providing experience in areas they’re interested in.
- Flexibility: Today’s employees look for employers that are open to innovation, such as remote and flexible working options. These innovative work options can benefit both you and an employee, so it’s worth listening to ideas and requests.
These aspects lead to job satisfaction and promote quality of life.
Applicants may also ask you questions, research your company online or talk to employees to gauge whether you promote workplace innovation. If you seem too set in your ways, applicants with the best credentials may opt to work for a competitor.
Gauge and maximize employees satisfaction
People have an inherent need to achieve. Workplace innovation prioritizes growth – and creativity. Helping your team develop their knowledge and experience stimulates their need for growth and professional development while enabling your business to deliver more than before.
If your office environment doesn’t allow them to grow or share their ideas, they’ll look for other employers who afford them this privilege. Your most valued employees may leave, and you’ll lose their talent.
Supply what the market needs
The status quo is comfortable and may seem effective. If everything works, why change? Right? This perspective may sound sensible but can harm your business. When there’s a shift in consumer needs or industry technologies, can you adjust fast enough?
Often, your best resource in times of change can be found within your team. As consumers themselves they may know how to grab and keep the attention of your audience. But if you don’t allow them to share innovative ideas you’re missing out on a valuable asset: their points of view.
Also, in an ever-changing market your employees’ skillsets must improve if you want them to help you find new solutions and deliver a quality product or service. When change or a crisis looms you need a team that’s capable of the task, who can think of solutions, make decisions, and take action.
How to Facilitate Workplace Innovation
Now that you see why workplace innovation is important, you’re probably wondering where to start.
First, you can’t force it. It’s all about creating a new workplace atmosphere. To help build an innovative environment, consider how you can incorporate these aspects moving forward:
- Ensure employees aren’t over burdened with tasks, because when someone feels burnt out he or she won’t have energy to be creative.
- Simplify decision making processes so employees see results faster and change isn’t prevented by bureaucracy or office politics. If it takes too long for their ideas to become reality, they’ll think you don’t care about their input.
- Promote collaboration between employees so they feel comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions with each other. Managers must also interact with their teams because if you seem unapproachable then they won’t share innovative ideas with you.
- Talk about innovation regularly and award those who take part to motivate others to join in.
Workplace innovation has to happen organically. You can’t wait until you desperately need to tap into your team’s creativity before you allow them to get innovative. Workplace innovation should be part of your company culture, so employees enjoy creative pursuits during the day and feel comfortable voicing their opinions. So, consider your first step towards showing your team that their opinions matter.
With over 20 years of managerial experience in the IT industry, Jerry Chua currently serves as the Marketing Director of Azeus Convene. Used by governments and Fortune 500 companies in over 90 countries, Convene is a powerful productivity tool designed to streamline and digitize collaboration.
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