4 Ways To Motivate and Inspire Innovation From Your Employees
Companies are always trying to figure out how to get more productivity from their employees, but the definition of "productivity" has changed. The metric of employee productivity has evolved from "who can make the most new widgets" to "who can come up with the best new ideas" that positively impact the bottom line.
Innovation and creativity are the name of the game for today’s companies of all sizes. Employees need to be rewarded and evaluated based on their initiative, adaptability to new challenges, and the new ideas they can create and implement in a way that makes life better for customers and employees alike.
This is one area where small businesses can potentially enjoy a big competitive advantage over larger companies. If your company can motivate and inspire innovation from your employees with a fun, creative, supportive, entrepreneurial work environment, you’ll be able to out-compete and out-hustle the bigger, slower decision making corporations.
So without further ado, here are 4 ways to motivate and inspire innovation from your employees:
1. Less Micro-Managing & More Trust
Talented, creative employees want to feel trusted. They want to know that you believe in them, and that they have the freedom to innovate and try new things without constantly having to look over their shoulder. If you are regularly nitpicking your employees’ performance and insisting on updates for every little step of the process, you are running the risk of killing innovation at your company.
Instead of micromanaging, give people free rein. Work alongside your team and inspire them by the way you handle problems and the way you serve customers. Lead by example and let them make mistakes that lead to big breakthroughs for your business. Finally, be a mentor or coach, but not a micro-manager.
2. Listen To Employee Feedback & Show Them You Care By Making Changes Quickly
If you are constantly asking for employee feedback on how to make the company better, it can be extremely discouraging when these ideas go ignored. Especially, if they took the time to research these ideas and even you agree that it will help the business long-term.
The best innovative companies know how to draw upon the ideas and talents of people from the entire organization, not just the people at the top. Good ideas can come from anywhere. You might get some great insights for how to improve any aspect of your business by actually talking with the person(s) or departments actually taking care of that part of your business, even if they’re at a lower pay grade than the top managers and strategists.
The other aspect of this is to implement changes quickly so that you show your employees you care. Not only will it boost their moral, but also encourage them be even more proactive in your business.
3. Make Sure They Understand The Connection Between Effort & Reward
Do you pay your people for performance – with the best performers getting bigger rewards – or do you give everyone the same small pay raise whether they deserve it or not? Employees often lose motivation when they feel like there’s no additional reward (can we say add a bonus structure) for being star performers.
If stars never get rewarded and poor performers never face consequences, everyone will settle into a depressing pattern of mediocrity – and that’s not good for your employees or for the company. So make sure to be clear in sharing the connection between effort and the potential rewards available and watch your productivity and work satisfaction rise up quickly.
4. Put A System In Place For Additional Employee Training & Certification
Nothing can replace the feeling as an employee of knowing that you are constantly improving and getting better each day. They realize that as they improve and become better at their specific role within a company, that the chances of being promoted and paid more over time increase.
So instead of expecting employees to figure things out on their own, put a system in place where employees can continue getting the training/certifications they need to do their job better and more efficiently. Make sure they are allotted time in their busy schedules each week to complete these training's and reward them for reaching certain milestones.
If the ultimate goal is to have a happy, productive, innovative, and healthy workforce in your business, then you as the business owner must create the environment for this to occur. It won't just happen on its own.
The most innovative companies aren't always the ones that pay the biggest salaries or have the most exacting hiring processes; they’re the companies that create a powerful winning culture of motivation and innovation where people actively want to work, where people feel that they can be their best, and where people continually collaborate and evolve as a team in promising new directions.
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