Companies that are the most competitive among their class have some key characteristics in common. Their employee engagement is high. They have transparent, two-way internal communications. They’re driven by a strong culture. They’re highly adaptable, and they have an environment ready to spark innovation.
Forward-thinking, innovative companies are agile and ready to adapt to the fluctuating elements that dictate their business, like supply and demand, technology, and competition.
They don’t apply a one-size-fits-all solution to every problem. They crowdsource ideas from their workforce and encourage participation either through traditional communication avenues or a digital workplace. As a result, they’re the leaders of the pack in terms of employee engagement, attracting and retaining talent, productivity, and profit.
Create a Culture of Adaptability, Risk-Taking and an Innovative Workforce
“To build a culture of innovation everyone must ask the question, ‘how can we do it differently, even if it’s not broken?’ in all aspects of the organization,” says Heather Oliver, SPHR, Founder and CEO of Culture Strategies, Inc. Oliver works with business leaders to grow their organizations and increase their value propositions by aligning workforces with company culture and vision.
Risk-taking can be intimidating when the status quo strategies have kept your company afloat, but it’s the most important ingredient of innovation and will ignite growth. Your culture should promote and value bold ideas from your workforce. Here’s how you can align them as an innovative workforce:
- Share company goals and obstacles with employees and encourage them to come up with solutions.
- Leaders and managers should be available to employees to help nurture their ideas in a transparent forum.
- Reward both success and failure to support and encourage risk-taking.
Lead Like a Digital Workplace Innovator
Jeff Dyer, Professor of Strategy at BYU, and Nathan Furr, Assistant Professor of Strategy at INSEAD Business School, study how innovation sets companies apart. Their 2018 list of most innovative business leaders will come as no surprise:
Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, Reed Hastings, and Elon Musk are among the top ten. Thanks to their out-of-the-box philosophies, they have grown their companies leaps and bounds above their competition. They possess what Dyer and Furr call ‘innovation capital.’
Innovation should be an integral part of your leadership strategy to set workplace expectations. Align your workforce with company goals so they have a clear vision of where you’re headed in the following ways.
- Inspire creative thinking.
- Encourage proactive problem solving.
- Give employees challenges and the room to be self-starters.
- Make sure your internal communications strategy encourages a diversity of voices.
As a result, you’ll develop an innovative and engaged workforce that will strengthen your employer brand that attracts top talent, raises the productivity of your workforce, and elevates your standing in the public eye.
Foster Collaboration with a Team App
In a company with a dispersed workforce, collaboration might seem difficult to coordinate. Collaboration is a vital component to building an innovative workplace; it would be a mistake to overlook it. The solution is to adopt a digital internal communications strategy to foster collaboration among mobile workers. A team app can align your non-desk employees to a shared mission, connect them to one another in real-time, and serve as a virtual medium to communicate their ideas. Since implementing Beekeeper, Ricola can now clearly target their internal communication. Different departments can interact more and and exchange information better with each other.
The operational communication platform gives a voice to every single employee and encourages Ricola’s workforce to express their opinion, which in turn actively shapes their company culture. Designed to connect dispersed non-desk workforces, adopting Beekeeper as their team app has helped foster a more transparent company culture with their employees and supported the company’s innovative business approach.
“Beekeeper supports Ricola’s change process and movement for a higher awareness of technology and digitization for all our employees. I can effortlessly create and conduct employee surveys and have the ability to receive immediate feedback from all colleagues.” –Nathalie Maerki, HR, Ricola
Cultivate Changemakers to Increase Employee Engagement
For innovation to deliver results, your entire workforce needs to make it a priority. To spur innovation, companies need to nurture an environment where workers feel safe to contribute and communicate their ideas. The more ideas your organization generates the more successful your company will be.
To inspire new voices you also need to embrace diversity. Recruit people who can bring fresh perspectives to your company. Take note of any innovators among your staff who might be future leaders.
If an employee has a great idea, make them the champion of their vision, and let them develop the project to see if it works. Giving employees more control and trusting their ideas will positively impact employee engagement. Lead innovation from the top, but cultivate it from the bottom up.
When innovation is an enterprise-wide strategy and a foundation of your culture, it produces an engaged and productive workforce and sets your company up for long-term growth and sustainability.