Employee innovation : two words that suggest development, enterprise and above all collaboration. Although employee innovation is common practice in some companies, others remain skeptical, as the results are not always obvious. And yet, for a company to survive, it needs innovation, a vital force to keep up with today’s changing environment. What is employee innovation? How can it be incorporated into a company? How can you improve it ? Read on for a full analysis.
What is employee innovation?
Employee innovation is an organized management approach that promotes and encourages the collection, application and diffusion of innovative ideas by all of the people both within an organization and externally. While the aim is to increase productivity and create added value ; it is also to harness the talent of each employee.
By mobilizing collective intelligence, employee innovation embraces the idea that the employees of an organization can make relevant proposals ; improve their day-to-day and obtain information to solve problems. The main advantage of this approach, therefore, is that it provides the opportunity to benefit from all new ideas and insight in an agile manner ; whatever the hierarchical status of the originator of the idea.
The notion of employee innovation is narrowly linked to the field of well-being in the workplace and communication between employees. It is an approach that attracts large firms and startups alike, as a value-creation lever that acts on all aspects of their organization.
What is the role of the manager in employee innovation?
For employee innovation to succeed in an organization, certain managerial practices must be implemented, as this approach requires a specific type of management. The manager plays a key role at the heart of the innovation process ; putting the approach into practice and encouraging an innovation strategy. As such, innovation management helps to develop techniques and management tools for creating favorable conditions for the development of concrete experimentation.
It is the manager’s responsibility to empower and motivate their team, creating a climate of trust. A few key points to facilitate this task:
- Set up a suggestion box 2.0 system using digital idea management tools such as SocialJs Ideas to collect the information. This type of collaborative platform, which is simple and fun, is ideal for improving a team’s innovation potential.
- Give constructive feedback in response to each innovation so as to support the initiative of the person who had the idea and foster the motivation to innovate.
- React positively to all initiatives put forward by contributors.
- Encourage and involve the teams and promote open innovation with agility.
- Teach teams to work in a group, i.e. by exchanging ideas, helping each other and challenging each other.
- Teach teams how to tackle problems head-on and to solve them quickly, collaborating with colleagues.
- Encourage the autonomy of each contributor so that they feel empowered.
- Help teams to develop the capacity to deal with both successes and setbacks so that each team member can move forward in the right direction.
In such a competitive context, however, a manager may lack the time and resources necessary to allow his team to develop creativity. Giving a team free rein can be difficult so a manager must remain alert and reactive.
What are the advantages of employee innovation?
Employee innovation ideas generates many positive results for a firm:
The human element above all
Contributors feel closer to the brand for which they work and feel more involved in their work. As such, individuals gain in motivation and confidence, and the positive effects on the corporate culture are boundless.
An impact for improving growth
Having ideas and implementing them is beneficial, but even better is to create added value in the process. It is important therefore to study a subject well before putting the theory into practice and to make sure the method used is the right one.
A stronger corporate image
A company that promotes new ideas and new products gains a positive reputation as a modern company that moves with the times.
Successful employee innovation
To conclude, it should be noted that employee innovation is above all a state of mind. For this type of approach to succeed in a company, a feeling of confidence and goodwill must reign within the team, and contributors must show commitment, motivation and responsibility. All team members must be aware that it is only human to make mistakes, and that learning from mistakes can be constructive for the organization, establishing a secure base from which to advance confidently.