How to tell if a company promotes a culture of innovation

 In order to succeed and grow, companies must stay ahead of their competition and be able to stand out in a crowd. Promoting a culture in an organisation in which innovation is encouraged can be as easy as making employees feel more appreciated. If employees feel as though their ideas are heard, they are more likely to bring questions and suggestions forward in the future. One great idea can change the game for a business, so utilising the many minds already dedicated to the organisation can be just what the company needs to become No. 1 in its space.


Creativity is rewarded

Promoting a culture of innovation allows employers to take full advantage of ideas brought forward by employees. It encourages free-flowing thoughts that make the company truly embrace evolving strategies that result from the changing market demands. Rewarding employees for sharing creative solutions encourages them to explore their innovative ideas and directly impacts the quality of their work. Not only does creativity foster an environment that encourages teamwork and collaboration, but employees will want to take initiative to further improve existing internal strategies. As employees draft up these new ideas, they will seek out co-workers for feedback, harnessing cross-collaboration and leading to complete, refined ideas that could ultimately have a positive impact on the business.

Rewarding creativity in the workplace also helps to recruit fit-to-hire talent. If an innovative culture is developed and becomes a main component of an organisation’s culture, its brand will attract more like-minded professionals to apply. Not only will this affect the ability to efficiently fill positions, but it will also assist in retaining top talent. Both new and existing employees will feel that they are able to thrive in the creative environment and be more willing to commit to growing with the company.

Deciding how to reward employees for their ideas can be tricky. There are different philosophies for how to best reward workers. Some experts believe that monetary rewards are detrimental to the creative process, while others think rewards programmes that are solely recognition-based are just as detrimental. The consensus is that, generally, rewards should be given on a case-by-case basis. Employers should draft a rewards system based on the type of work and completed accomplishment keeping rewards subjective: a fair and personalised reward system.


Mistakes are tolerated

A common roadblock in the creative process occurs when employees feel restricted or stunted due to fears associated with the possible repercussions of failed ideas. Instilling a sense of fear of failure in employees creates unwanted tension and discourages open thinking. To reduce negative emotions stemming from failed ideas, the idea of ‘intelligent risks’ should be fostered. This encourages employees to pursue calculated risks within their organisation to determine the viability of a creative solution. Introducing ‘failure-tolerant’ leaders into an organisation also neutralizes these worries and reduces workplace stress. Employees feel more confident exploring new ideas and more comfortable presenting those ideas to leaders.

While some mistakes can be detrimental to an organisation’s success, understanding that there are excusable mistakes and drawing that line ahead of time can help employees determine the cause of failure and analyse information to further refine the idea. These educated changes can lead to successful, celebration-worthy solutions. When this type of environment exists, mistakes will actually become fewer and farther between. If mistakes are constantly feared, professionals will strive for perfection, resulting in possible missed details and poor time management. Tolerating some errors ensures less pressure, reduces stress-related mistakes, and leads to a happier workforce that supports integrity and a learning environment in which employees can thrive.


Engagement is encouraged

Employee engagement is arguably the most important aspect of any successful organisation. Disengaged employees may reflect a lack of motivation in their daily tasks and responsibilities, hindering overall productivity. The development of an innovative culture strategy lessens the likelihood of unmotivated talent and boosts engagement if it was not there before. An innovative culture makes employees happier and more productive, reduces the costs associated with poor production and improves overall retention rates. HR leaders should seek skilled talent that reflects innovation in their recent experiences and come from all types of backgrounds. Use of data-driven talent management software makes these processes more accessible for HR leaders to quickly and accurately identify diverse candidates. The design of an office space also has a major influence on innovation and collaboration and should be taken into consideration when creating workspaces. Companies with flexible hours, open workspaces or remote work arrangements have experienced positive collaboration and cross-departmental conversations.

Spotting the many different ways companies can promote innovation through their culture-building practices shows that a company values the creative ideas its employees bring to the table. Innovation can be the key to a business’ success, as it competes to be the best value to potential customers. Promoting a culture of innovation can be efficient and effective, as the people who know the business best are the ones who work to improve the company every day.

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Jazz Panesar is a Digital and Technology Apprentice at Severn Trent. Read Jazz’s story here.

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