Workplace innovation gives businesses a competitive advantage while solving the pain points of customers and clients. To instill workplace innovation, offices must adopt new techniques and strategies to harness the creative side of their employees. While many companies acknowledge the need for workplace instigation, they don’t exactly know how to do it.
If you’re a business owner or a team manager who’s looking out for practical, easy-to-implement workplace innovation practices, you’re at the right place. The use of correct innovative business practices can boost your employee productivity, creativity, and efficiency.
This, in turn, leads to the improvisation of existing products and services to better suit the current market needs. In today’s businesses, innovation is a key aspect as it helps businesses survive in the market, boosts business sales, improves brand identity, and streamlines ROI.
Towards the end of this article, you’d know the key benefits of including innovation-boosting practices among employees as well as easy ways to include it in your workspace. Moreover, you’ll get an idea of how workplace innovation is helping companies get more productive and attracting new hires to further add to the business value through real-life examples.
Let’s get started.
How Is Workplace Innovation Boosting ROI?
There’s no doubt workplace innovation is doing wonders in building a solid brand rapport. Let’s find out how exactly it works.
A. Customer satisfaction
With the ever-changing business trends, customer expectations are higher than they have ever been in the past. Customers look out for innovative products and services that increase their productivity and efficiency as well as lower prices. Businesses continue to innovate their products and services to cater to customer demands.
Think of Amazon’s business strategy to bring innovation in every aspect of eCommerce with the mission to promote customer-centricity. Here are a few of the ways Amazon has revolutionized the online retail business:
- Kindle (eBooks)
- Prime (fast and free shipping)
- Prime Now (one-click ordering)
- Dash Button (one-click ordering)
- Alexa (Amazon’s virtual assistant)
- Prime Air (deliveries via flying robots)
- Cloud Computing (faster web services)
B. Competitive Advantage
When a company’s employees focus on bringing innovative concepts and potential solutions, it positively impacts the company’s reputation in the market. Customers perceive up-to-date companies as high-value as they’re investing money, time, effort, and workforce towards finding new and effective solutions. This gives them a competitive edge compared to businesses that aren’t aligning with the current innovation trends.
Among many examples of innovation, Apple’s continuous efforts to bring innovation to their electronic products to help relieve the pain points of customers have made them a pioneer in workplace innovation.
Similarly, companies that fail to innovate at the right time and occasion face major setbacks and are unable to survive in the market. A few examples are Nokia, BlackBerry, and Motorola. We conclude staying competitive in the market leads to more sales and ROI, ensuring business sustainability.
C. Enhanced Productivity
While business leaders may think workplace innovation is only relevant to the advanced changes in products and services to better suit the current market requirements. It’s not always true.
Workplace innovation also focuses on workplace productivity. It’s about spending less time on clerical tasks and investing more time in problem-solving, brainstorming, and creativity. Optimizing the workplace processes works great in getting things faster, cheaper, and more productive.
Bigger companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc, focus on staff-driven innovation. They give their employees the ability to think out of the box, come up with ideas, and be vocal about them.
To promote employees’ creativity, everyone works as a team throughout the workplace hierarchy without having the fear of speaking up about their ideas to the company leaders. This healthy workplace culture promotes:
- Workplace creativity
- Workplace motivation
- Workplace productivity
- Workplace collaboration
- Innovative business processes
- Higher employee engagement
- Company’s social development
One of our favorite examples is Southwest Airlines where all employees are treated equally and engaged in “blue-sky thinking” exercises. For they believe great ideas come out of ordinary humans irrespective of prior knowledge, experience, and expertise. And that sums up the power of creativity to boost innovative business trends.
There are many ways to drive workplace innovation, however, we’ll be discussing the most relevant and practical innovation aspects that are linked to attracting more hires in the next section.
11 Ways to Drive Workplace Innovation And Attract New Hires
In any business, the ability of employees to voice up their ideas, opinions, and beliefs is the most crucial aspect when it comes to workplace innovation. Follow these 11 ways to help businessmen identify the key points that bring workplace innovation.
1. Reward Your Employees
Like all human beings, employees tend to perform better when they feel heard, appreciated, and recognized for their work efforts. Company managers should keep an eye on the employee’s performance to improve the chances of sustainable improvement. Reassuring them when they bring good business results boosts their confidence and helps them vocalize their innovative opinions.
Employee recognition should not only come from the administrative staff. Colleagues and peers can also bring a considerable positive impact through appreciation and encouragement. The employees that receive recognition and rewards tend to produce more workplace innovation.
Here are some of the ways you can reward your employees:
- Gift cards
- Stock options
- Salary increments
- Offer Remote work
- Workplace celebrations
- Tickets to Luxury Hotels
- Employee of the day title rewards
- Offering tickets for business events
- Reimbursement of commuting expenses
2. Conducting Continuous Employee Feedback
Another great way to innovate your workplace lies in giving regular feedback to the employees. In today’s time, employees are more conscious of self-growth and professional competency. They crave continuous feedback on their performance to improvise it to better cater to their position requirements.
It’s important to note that an employee’s engagement is directly linked to constructive feedback. According to a study, around 43% of the employees that are highly engaging receive feedback every week. The feedback gives them a chance to do things better and ultimately boost workplace innovation.
When it comes down to collecting employee feedback and team performance, employee satisfaction surveys are conducted on an annual, biannual, or quarterly basis. The surveys focus on the pain points that may be affecting an employee’s performance, engagement, and retention.
3. Organizing Workshops To Boost Creativity
To keep your employees creative, maintain a healthy work-life balance. Furthermore, organizing creative workshops for employees to attend in their free time is another great way to boost innovative mindsets. Similarly, hiring a creative officer at your company would ensure the employees get a regular dose of innovative creativity.
Some good examples of creativity workshops are:
- Art classes
- Escape rooms
- Acting lessons
- Cooking lessons
- Writing workshops
- Gardening sessions
4. Enhancing Workplace Diversity
Innovation in businesses comes from collaborative brainstorming. In a diverse company, people from different races, backgrounds, and ethnicities come together and find a business solution. The point is to evaluate an issue from different standpoints. For example, companies like Google, Coca-Cola, Mcdonald’s, etc. support workplace diversity.
The ability of companies to respect, value, and engage with employees at a deeper level irrespective of their ethnicities also attract more hires. When the employees are happy and motivated, workplace innovation is automatically boosted. Furthermore, when people hear about diverse company cultures, they tend to develop a brand affinity with the business as well.
5. Ask Employees For Opinions
Asking your employees to discuss and reach a conclusion for a complicated issue also helps in boosting innovation. This way, the employees feel included and valued for their creative input. For example, the CEO of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs believes he hires smart employees so that they can tell him what to do rather than hiring smart employees and dictating them their job.
Moreover, creativity is contagious which helps build a more dynamic workplace. Similarly, rewarding employees for coming up with innovative business solutions also works wonders in creating an innovative workplace.
One of our favorite examples is the Suburban-K9’s innovative approach to dog training. They leveraged innovation by introducing dog training workshops focused on a Lifestyle Adjustment Plan (LAP) for the owners. This program aims at understanding the needs and training goals of each dog and provides a tailored training program accordingly.
6. Educating Line Managers
Instead of solely relying on the superior staff to promote workplace innovation, line managers must be given the roles. The direct manager is directly in contact with the team and is responsible for the productivity, performance, and vigilance of employees. Similarly, he can also bring creativity to employees given the due training and resources.
To create innovation as a part of a business’ mission, line managers must conduct brainstorming activities among teams to promote workplace innovation. Innovation emerges when different teams and workplace divisions come together to share ideas and solutions.
Similarly, when employees work across various company departments they get more exposure and vision for how different areas of a company are interlinked. This innovative approach, in turn, creates smart employees that contribute towards workplace innovation.
7. Taking Frequent Risks
To promote workplace innovation, the fear of failure must be eradicated. Behind every successful innovation lies multiple setbacks and failures. Acknowledging the chances of setbacks while still opting for innovative problem-solving takes a good business to a great business.
According to a study, around 67% of investors believe in taking disruptive business projects that are not only risky but also yield long-term results.
Similarly, when employees are given the confidence to make multiple failed attempts, their creativity gets more functional contributing to great ideas. The employees are then able to see the innovative process as an opportunity to prove themselves and bring excellent results. The team members are also encouraged to learn in case of failure.
For example, companies like Netflix, Starbucks, and Amazon are continuously bringing innovation to their business by offering customer incentives and innovative digital marketing. Similarly, this house cleaning business institute has brought innovation by leveraging software and tools to help people kickstart their businesses.
8. Putting Effort Into Workplace Design
Significantly, office design and layout can directly impact an employee’s performance. The architecture and design of an office can help boost creativity and collaboration among teams. For instance, having conference rooms with enough capacity so that the maximum number of employees can collaborate during big meetings.
Similarly, setting up multiple enclosed zones with aesthetic visuals for creative thinkers to come up with ideas in solitude. Google is a pioneer in understanding and providing efficient workplace design and facilities like:
- Water pools
- Vintage subway cars
- Revolving bookcases
- Visually pleasing interior
- Greenery and lush lawns
- Cybersecurity for employees
- Facilities for haircuts and laundry
- Gyms, saunas, and massage rooms
- Sleeping bubble for a 20-min power sleep
- Well-stocked kitchens, cafes, restaurants
However, it’s important to consider not all companies support workplace design and layout to boost innovation at such a high level as Google. However, small changes like setting up visually pleasing elements in the office and having separate brainstorming rooms can work wonders in the innovative thinking of employees.
9. Using Tools And Softwares To Boost Innovation
Using the right set of tools and software can help employees divert their attention to what matters. Tools and software can save time and effort compared with doing things manually. Similarly, innovative software helps in generating new ideas and identifying new markets. They also facilitate taking an idea from concept to implementation.
Similarly, innovation software comes in handy to develop innovative business models that are yet to be decided. An innovation management software allows active collaboration among team members and stakeholders in real time. This helps in creating the full potential of innovative creativity inside and outside of your organization.
Following are the types of software to use in your workplace to boost innovation:
- Innovation software
- cloud accounting products
- Office collaboration platforms
- project management software
10. Look Out For Business Adjacencies
Market adjacencies refer to new products or markets in the same niche as your business. However, they are unique and innovative concepts that add new value to the business. Businesses need to keep innovating their products and services to stand out in the market. Looking out for market adjacencies helps brainstorm innovative ideas.
Keeping up with market trends helps businesses stay competitive and remain up-to-date. For example, after seeing a massive audience interest in TikTok videos, other brands like YouTube and Instagram started giving the same short video concept while naming it “YouTube shorts” and “Insta Reels” respectively.
Another example of market adjacencies is, if you’re running a digital marketing business, you’d want innovation through digital marketing solutions, and faster database solutions. You’d also want your employees to come up with new marketing methods for your product design, packaging, placement, promotion, and pricing.
11. Focusing On Problem-Solving
A successful business product aims at solving a customer problem. Rather than focusing on market attributes like demographics (age, gender, location, income) businesses should work on finding the pain points and draft innovative solutions accordingly.
It’s interesting to note that tens of thousands of products go out every year. However, only 5% of them get successful while 95% most likely fail.
Business leaders encourage employees to focus on the theory of “jobs to be done” created by Christensen. According to this theory, people don’t buy products but rather hire you to get their job done. This approach to innovation in customer psychology helps initiate novel pursuits into finding the right needs for the customers.
It helps entrepreneurs to better understand the processes to integrate into business and how to integrate them so that they do the job for the customers in satisfying their pain points. Similarly, following this approach also helps businesses give a better experience to customers.
In today’s world, workplace innovation is crucial for surviving the business competition while boosting sales and attracting more hires at the same time. Workplace innovation is directly influenced by an employee’s satisfaction, engagement, and happiness.
One key indication of workplace innovation lies in the fact that your employee can fearlessly voice their opinions and ideas to the higher authorities.
Continuously asking employees for their opinions, encouraging them to take innovative risks, and focusing on problem-solving are other key drivers toward business innovation. Moreover, workplace design, diversity, and a company’s culture also contribute to innovation.
By now you’ve learned how to practice workplace innovation through simple, practical approaches to give your brand a competitive advantage, brand identity, profits, and more hires. The next step is to implement these steps to reap the benefits of workplace innovation.
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Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?