Even before the pandemic changed the way we work and collaborate, innovation in the workplace was a critical component of successful companies. Now, with so many employees still working remotely, that need is emphasized even further. A stagnant workplace environment bereft of creative ideas can lead to unfocused, burnt-out, and disengaged employees.
What makes innovation so valuable to a company that wants to see new levels of success? Let’s take a look at three of the top reasons.
An improved bottom line. Innovation begets success. Just look at some of the largest companies in the world and how they’ve used innovation to grow.
Amazon famously began as a virtual platform where users could buy, rent, or sell books. As the company grew, it expanded its services to become an online marketplace, develop Amazon Web Services for businesses operating in the cloud, and branch into media like video and music. Today, Amazon is worth about $1.5 trillion.
Innovation should build on your existing products and services. To innovate most effectively, gather information from multiple sources. Your internal team can provide insights, but you should be consulting with external stakeholders, including customers, board members, company partners, or referrals from those other sources.
The bottom line is that your bottom line is only helped by encouraging workplace innovation.
Increased employee satisfaction. An improved financial situation isn’t the only benefit of workplace innovation. Your employees will also be happier with more opportunities to contribute to the company.
One of Google’s pillars of innovation is to look for ideas everywhere. The methodology behind this pillar is simple: some of the best ideas come from employees taking a break and talking about things that excite them. In fact, several of Google’s most successful products — such as The Google Art Project or AdWords’ Automated Rules — have come from what the company calls its “microkitchens.”
Actively cultivating a company culture that supports innovation not only boosts employee engagement but can also be a great recruiting tool. If a potential new hire is deciding between two companies to join, will they choose the one that has a rigid set of rules everyone has to follow? Or will they go for the one that encourages creativity and innovation and has a high employee retention rate as a result?
Career growth opportunities. Engaged employees are more likely to push themselves at work. By offering the opportunity to innovate, you’re helping them grow their careers and expand their professional development.
No one likes to get in a rut. We all go through it from time to time, though a prolonged “stuck in neutral” feeling can really stunt an employee’s growth. Introducing opportunities for workplace innovation — whether it’s through conferences, outside speakers, training, or supporting ideas and projects — will create a launching pad for employees to grow their careers.
This renewed sense of purpose will not only boost employee morale, but it could also introduce an entirely new company growth area. What starts as an employee passion project might turn into a key offering for the business. And that project may lead the employee to carve out a new role within the company, with a strong focus on building that product or service.
How are you introducing innovation within the workplace? Share with us in the comments below.