What Is Workplace Innovation And How To Drive It

Every organization wants to see innovation in their rows. Here are 11 ways in which you can drive workplace innovation.

October 31, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

innovation in the workplace

Every organization that wants to stay competitive in the market should encourage innovation in the workplace. Many companies say they want to see their employees innovating – but do not know how to inspire them to do so.

Read on to find out how we define workplace innovation, what are the best ways to drive it in your organization, and best examples of innovation in the workplace.

💡 Before you start, get our Recognition and Rewards playbook and learn how to build employee recognition programs that will drive innovation in the workplace.

employee recognition playbook

Innovation in the Workplace Definition

Many people think that innovation in general is some kind of a massive breakthrough in a certain area of expertise. The fact is – innovation can mean a very small change in how you do something, but it can have a great impact.

Innovation in the workplace refers to the process of introducing new ideas, services, products, business processes, or methodologies in a work environment. Innovative solutions can improve existing products or services, solve problems, and improve ROI or productivity of a certain business process.

innovation in the workplace

11 Ways to Drive Innovation in the Workplace

There are numerous ways to drive innovation in the workplace. For one, employees should feel safe to voice their ideas in a business environment. Second, you cannot expect innovation to happen if you have dissatisfied employees – so make sure they are happy with their compensation and benefits package.

Third, you must create a positive and encouraging company culture in which innovation can more easily take place.

Here are some more specific ways to help you drive innovation in the workplace.

Recognize your employees’ work

When you recognize your employees’ work, you are reassuring them they are doing a good job. Moreover, you are increasing their confidence, which can also help them to voice their ideas more loudly.

However, recognition has many forms and can come from different people – not only superiors. Peer-to-peer recognition improves employees’ relationships and increases the possibility for future cooperation.

Employee recognition is a powerful way to engage your employees, which is a prerequisite for innovation in the workplace. In fact, research shows that 88% of employees that receive strong performance recognition are proactively innovating.

innovation in the workplace

Ask employees what they think

If you want to increase workplace innovation, ask your employees: what do you think we can do to help you innovate more? Chances are, they will have some ideas on it, and it might help you detect your pain points more easily.

💡 A great way to find out how your employees think and feel is through regular employee surveys.

Moreover, ask your employees to think of a situation where they were thinking creatively. What inspired them to do so? 

Encourage frequent collaboration

Innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. Rather, it is a product of vibrant brainstorming sessions and exposure to others’ points of view. When employees approach a single matter from different angles, they can see it more holistically and spot opportunities for improvement more easily.

Therefore, it is important for employees to collaborate closely and frequently if you want to see higher levels of innovation in the workplace.

Create a culture of continuous feedback

One thing that employees want more of in the workplace is feedback. Millennials and Gen Z crave informal feedback in the workplace to get a sense of how they are doing – and to improve.

If you do not offer continuous employee feedback, you are not giving your employees a chance to realize what they could be doing better.

Research shows that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once per week. Since engagement drives innovation in the workplace – it is clear what you need to do.

innovation in the workplace

Do not miss out on this simple opportunity! Here are additional resources on employee feedback:

💡 How to give constructive feedback to employees + examples

💡 Why you should rethink annual performance reviews

💡 5 Positive feedback examples to give to your employees

Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

One of the most prominent benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is innovation and creativity. When people from different backgrounds are given voice, they approach a single matter from multiple different standpoints: that’s when innovation happens.

It is incredible how much racial and ethnical diversity can add to a workplace. Not only does it inspire innovation, but it also helps companies to tap into new markets and increase their performance.

Organize creativity workshops

Why not let professionals work for you? Hire external help to organize creativity workshops – or hire a creativity officer in your company to help you continuously drive innovation in the company.

Here are some ideas for your creativity workshop:

  • Art classes
  • Escape room
  • Cooking lessons
  • Gardening sessions
  • Writing workshop
  • Acting lessons

Boost your employees’ engagement

59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas compared to only 3% of disengaged employees. 

innovation in the workplace

Employee engagement is one of the most important aspects of a workplace and it has numerous other benefits. It positively impacts employees’ productivity and performance. On the other hand, disengaged employees cost US taxpayers approximately $500billion annually in lost productivity.

Support interdisciplinarity

One of the main postulates of innovation in the workplace calls for collaboration of departments that usually would not collaborate. Workplace innovation can happen where you least expect it. Interdisciplinary collaboration can help different ideas to grow and evolve by providing completely different perspectives.

Experiment and make it ok to fail 

One of the best ways to drive innovation in the workplace is to experiment. Let your employees know that they can try something new out and test it. If it fails – it is ok.

Not all experiments your employees propose will be successful, but it is important that they do not feel a pressure to succeed. If they do, they will be less likely to try new things out.

Enable communication flow in all the directions

45% of employees agree that overcoming the middle management “permafrost” layer is one of the top challenges companies face to successfully innovate

innovation in the workplace

This is why you need to make sure that your employees always feel comfortable voicing their ideas to their superiors. This is much easier if they see how upper management communicates. Therefore, try to include your CEO in your employee communication strategy.

Educate line managers

If there is a single person who affects employees’ happiness, productivity, and performance during their time with a company, it’s their direct manager. It is no different when it comes to innovation in the workplace.

If you want to make innovation a part of your company’s mission, you must educate managers on how to enable and support it. 

Workplace Innovation Benefits

To many professionals, it is obvious that innovation in the workplace can benefit businesses. However, there are more ways than one in which this is done.

Catering to your customers’ needs

Your customers are your priority, and they can get better service with an innovative approach to their problems. If your employees get together to work on a project centered around catering to your customers’ needs, you can expect increased customer satisfaction and product adoption.

Increased productivity and reduced costs

Innovation in the workplace does not always have to center around implementing novelties in products and services. Sometimes, it refers to optimizing work processes to be cheaper, faster, or more effective.

Remaining competitive

Of course, workplace innovation’s ultimate benefit is helping businesses offer competitive products and services and increasing revenue in the long run. It is only logical: when employees innovate, they are helping their businesses stay ahead of competition or to level the playing field.

How Semos Cloud can help your employees innovate

Here at Semos Cloud, our mission is simple: to help you improve your employees’ experience. Today, employees have more job options than ever – and organizations must prove to be top employers if they want steady employee retention and engagement.

Only in an environment where they feel engaged and safe to voice their ideas will innovation take place. Technology can play a crucial role in helping you achieve that – especially in a remote or hybrid work environment.

Semos Cloud’s employee experience platform is a solution for companies that want to improve their company culture, engage employees and prevent turnover. It’s all-in-one platform for employee recognition, communication, feedback, surveys, and wellbeing.

Get in touch with our representatives to see how your employees’ experience can be improved to unleash the power of innovation in the workplace.

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