Make Employee Engagement Part of Your Innovation Strategy

Innovation starts with teamwork.

Core to any organization is the people that join it. This is as true of the workplace as anywhere else: Who works for your company often defines it. However, a surprising number of employees don’t feel engaged or interested in their workplace. It’s estimated 70% of the workforce is doing little more than punching a clock, and they don’t particularly care who’s looking at that clock. Employee engagement and excitement can make the difference between an industry leader and an also-ran, and often your innovation strategy is the key to exciting your employees.

Respect Is A Two-Way Street

Employees often don’t engage in a workplace because they believe their company thinks of them as disposable cogs and what they do doesn’t matter. From the beginning of history, people have felt that the organizations they labor for don’t care about them. Worse, employees can often feel that nothing they do truly has an impact. They do the work, they file the report, and then get asked to do it all over again with a different set of data, with no sense of what they achieved.

Part of this is purely an institutional problem, and it’s not limited to the workplace. You find these same concerns in schools among children, from voters when their government feels slow or non-reactive, and so on. Anything that is a structure involving a large group of people is going to struggle to feel personal, and similarly, if you have lofty goals, it can be hard to see progress towards them. So it’s a question of finding elements within your structure that give employees more ownership of the process and allow them to see and participate in actual progress. This is where your innovation strategy comes in.

Everyone has ideas worth hearing.

Innovation As Wake-Up Call

An innovation strategy open to your employees offers more of a voice in the direction of the company, by sharing and voting on ideas, and clear progress as an idea advances through the various stages. It can even allow employees to constructively vent frustration by suggesting changes to how your company does things; you might notice a few ideas have something to do with how their jobs get done, and how that might be done better. Employees will feel they have a voice and that they’re getting things done.

Just as important, however, is that you’re tapping into a deeper well of stakeholders and ideas. You can build the most brilliant aircraft in the history of aviation, but if you do the metaphorical equivalent of building it in the basement, it’s not going anywhere. With multiple perspectives and ideas from employees across the organization, your innovation strategy will improve both by anticipating potential issues with ideas before they become expensive to deal with, and by gathering ideas from places outside the usual. Often, it’s the idea from somebody who’s looking at the forest that turns out to be the most valuable.

Innovation strategy, at its best, gives your entire workforce a voice and a way to contribute. Feeling heard, that your opinion matters and is needed, is a powerful thing for people, and innovation strategy will ensure everyone at your company has that feeling. To learn more, request a demo.

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