Innovation is what drives the workforce. You cannot stand still and keep doing the same thing on repeat. In a world with rapidly evolving technology, your employees must continuously come up with one new idea after the next. And, finding an exciting, innovated idea is not simple.
And, yet, if you are not doing your job as a leader to inspire your team to be more innovative, you will fail. The best companies have innovation teams that dominate the market. To compete with the big guys, you must find ways to motivate your team.
First things first, you must be an example. The best leaders are inspirational. You must show that innovation matters to you. For example, true leaders have a clear vision. Why are you doing what you are doing? What can you say to get all your employees on the same page? How do your actions and words support this vision?
Leaders must communicate clearly. Beyond simply providing your employees with information, you must also communicate the needs of the company and the goals for employees. As Gary Burnison explains, “Verbally and nonverbally, the way in which you communicate – humbly, passionately, confidently – has more impact than the words you choose.”
Listen to their ideas – not just your top employees. Give everyone room to share ideas and feedback. Do not dismiss people’s ideas who are not the top employees; instead, allow everyone to have a voice in the future of the company.
Incentives are great motivators in the workplace. Incentives can vary depending on your company’s budget, but incentives go a long way in encouraging employees to try even harder. Additionally, if you make it clear that there is room to move upward in the company based on personal achievement, you will also inspire employees to work harder.
Sometimes we forget how much recognition means to people. Whether or not the employee earned the top prize or incentive, go out of your way to acknowledge when an employee does something well. If an employee has a promising idea, recognize it. If possible, recognize accomplishments publicly so that this becomes part of the company culture and gives other employees a desire to be recognized.
The work environment really can lend its innovation. For instance, if all your employees are sitting in individuals cubicles working in silence, you may not come up with as many innovative ideas as a more open floorplan with less fluorescent lighting.
If you want your employees to be more innovative, then encourage collaboration. Teamwork is essential in innovative workplaces. It takes far more than one person to bring an idea to fruition.
Do not allow your employees to become bored. Look for opportunities where your employees can learn and develop new skills and hear the latest ideas. For example, you may send employees to professional conferences
Have some fun with a healthy competition in the workplace. If you want to stimulate ideas, consider Shark Tank Competition, which is an innovation management platform by Planbox for companies. It encourages healthy internal competition where employees work in teams against one another to come up with exciting ideas and pitch them.
When your employees feel like you see them as people and not simply your workers, they will be more motivated to do a respectable job. Treat them with respect and dignity.