There has never been a better time to come up with inspiring ideas and push the limits of innovation at your business. The good news is that uncertainty offers many benefits! It provides you with a virtually unlimited field for creativity – and this could mean the difference between failure and success.

The ground is fertile with possibilities right now. Keep reading to find out why new ideas and innovation are critical for yielding a fruitful harvest and how you can take action to capture opportunities right now.

Staying on Top and Improving Employee Retention

There are two primary benefits of encouraging innovation at your business: It provides you an advantage over the competition and improves employee retention.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

Your business faces a competitive environment under normal circumstances. This level of competition increases exponentially in uncertain times. As budgets get slashed due to economic strife, customers become even more particular about which providers receive their severely limited dollars. Then there are the organizations who are thriving because their products or services are recession-proof -or- because they are in great demand due to the nature of the current situation.

Both situations intensify competition and the need to ensure your business stands out from the crowd. When you make innovation and new ideas a priority, you distinguish your organization from the rest.

Retaining Your Best Employees

If you think that employee engagement and satisfaction are not important, consider the following:

  • 71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. (1)
  • US employers spend $2.9M per day on efforts to replace employees who have left their organization. (2)

Workplaces where innovation is a given tend to have more engaged and satisfied employees. Happy employees who feel appreciated and heard are much more likely to stay. This includes your star employees, the people who play a key role in the ongoing success of your business. When difficult times hit, these employees will vastly increase the chances your company will survive.

Encouraging Innovation

While it may sound mysterious, encouraging and supporting innovation at your company is easier than you think. The following strategies go a long way in promoting it.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

If you want to sustain innovation, leadership must take the initiative and make it abundantly clear to employees that they are heard and that their experiences matter. Offering multiple ways for employees to communicate with their managers and even those who hold the top positions in the company.

Even more vital, is the need for the entire workforce – from top leaders through essential workers – is the need to communicate.  Leaders need to help create a clear vision, ensure the culture remains in tactic despite additional stress, and that experiences matter.  Workers need to unify into collective groups to collaborate, keep socializing (especially in virtual workforce environments) to build strong teams, and to avoid culture differences in worker experiences.

Set Targets

It is nearly impossible to know how you will reach your destination if you do not know where you are going. You want your new ideas and innovation to serve a purpose. Make sure you articulate this purpose well and provide employees with a clear direction in which to move to achieve it.

Give Innovators a Sense of Ownership

Motivating employees to come up with new ideas is far easier when they feel a sense of ownership. Why? It gives them a reason to put in the work because it aligns their interests with the well-being and success of the business.

Provide Consistent Rewards and Recognition

People want to know their efforts are recognized. In fact, receiving recognition is often more powerful than receiving financial incentives. Furthermore, this recognition should be consistent. Do not reserve rewards for your annual conference or quarterly meeting. Instead, recognize employees on a monthly or weekly basis. Rewards can be small, but meaningful.

Getting Inspiration from Others

Learning from others is an excellent way to get started. Let meaningful ideas and conversations inspire you.

  • Curate and Share: Ideas and innovation are happening at lightning speed and occur each and every day.  Often the very best, come from social media.  You don’t need to build a better mousetrap during times of crisis.  Being the first to share vital information at critical times can lead to creative thinking in the industry itself.  It can generate buzz about your business, get your workers talking, and more importantly, help your business differentiate itself from competitors.
  • Participate in an Action Community: In virtually every market, in every industry, there are thought leaders, market leaders, government agencies, stakeholders and others who are essential drivers of and bold innovation.  Whether your business creates this community or is an active contributor, it is critical that you are an active participant. Discussions, perspectives, news, etc. all have impact on your business both long and short-term.
  • Seek Out Solutions from Other Industries: While your industry may be unique, other industries have value too. Look at what other industries are offering for solutions, tough questions they may be asking, or white papers or research they may be producing for insights that could be helpful to inspire new ideas.
  • Take a Look Back in History: Pandemics, economic challenges, supply chain issues, etc. – whatever the crisis may be, have all occurred at some point in the past.  Explore what ideas and innovations were inspired despite uncertain times and how they have influenced your industry (or others going forward.)  For example:  How did factors such as the Ebola outbreak, 9/11, the 2008 recession, etc. impact various industries?  How did industries adapt? What can you learn from them?  How did your customer base respond to these events?  How long did it take for your business to recover?

We are living during an unprecedented time. But there are also many opportunities for groundbreaking innovation and new ideas that can elevate your business to the peak of long-term success.

 

Uncertain times call for creative thinking.  Contact Gavel International to be inspired with solutions that connect and engage your people.   

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SOURCES:

1 https://blog.smarp.com/employee-engagement-8-statistics-you-need-to-know

2 https://www.zenefits.com/workest/employee-turnover-infographic/

 

Jeff Richards