Innovation is fundamentally important to long-term business success. While you may be able to take on the main role of envisioning breakthroughs for your business, it never hurts to get input from your employees. In order to ensure that your employees’ contributions towards innovation are as valuable as possible, you need to create a workplace environment in which new ideas are encouraged and celebrated. Here are some tips for creating a culture of innovation within your business:
Hire the right candidates
The first step in creating a workplace that cultivates innovation is hiring the best people possible. Character traits that you should be on the lookout for in interviews include creativity and the ability to take the initiative to improve processes and products unsupervised.
Keep open lines of communication with your employees
If your workplace does not encourage staff to approach management with new ideas then there is a good chance that you are missing out on some innovative ideas. Keeping the lines of communication open does not need be limited to your direct reports. If you believe that your frontline staff may have some valuable ideas, extend an open invitation for them to approach you.
Ensure that you have adequately considered innovation in your budget
The level of resources that should be directed towards innovation will vary greatly depending on the size of your business and the industry in which you operate. However, you should always aim to account for innovation in your budget, even if you simply plan to allocate a few hours each month to considering new ideas.
Celebrate creative ideas even when they prove to be unfeasible
Not every idea that your employees bring to you will be feasible. However, no matter how inappropriate a concept is, you should always thank them for their contribution and make it clear that you appreciate it. This will help your employees to feel more confident in bringing ideas to the table in the future and will generally boost morale in the workplace.
This article is part of our monthly SME Pathways newsletter.