Innovation is the lifeblood of any company, an what helps to keep it competitive year after year. However, many companies struggle with finding ways to get their employees to be innovative and have breakthrough moments and ideas. The good news is that the HR department can help.
Let’s take a look at 7 ways your HR department can help to promote better employee innovation which helps one better employee who is dedicated and innovative in their work.
1. Leadership Training
Innovation comes from being assertive and taking the initiative, not from mindlessly following orders. This means that there must be a fine line that has to be walked for employees, which in many cases can scare them away from having the courage to take the initiative.
To combat this, and make certain that everyone knows what is and is not acceptable when it comes to taking the initiative, leadership training can help. The way this works is that not only can management and team leaders learn to create an environment in which innovation can flourish, but it can also help teach that everyone is a potential leader, emboldening employees to step forward with their innovative ideas.
2. Improve the Hiring Structure
How a company hires will directly impact its success. If a company is hiring only “yes men and women,” and looking at nothing but their skills and job experience, then this can lead to a creatively stunted workforce. To promote innovation among employees, HR can start by focusing on hiring efforts on those who already have a track record of innovative thinking, strong skills, and creativity with practical applications.
3. Handle Success Correctly
One of the biggest things a company can do to squash innovation is to neglect to reward its employees properly when they have a good ides or bring a revolutionary solution to the table. To counter this, a company can make sure that employees who bring innovative solutions to the table are rewarded. This can be through an employee of the month system, raises, and promotions.
Events and webinars can also be used to encourage innovative thinking among employees. This is a tactic used by Employment Innovations, a company that specializes in providing HR solutions.
4. Handle Failure Correctly
As mentioned previously, one of the biggest factors that can hold an employee back from bringing forth innovation to their company is fear. This could be a fear of rejection or fear of being punished for rocking the boat.
This problem can be solved by using failures of innovation as teachable moments that help the entire workforce to learn from the mistakes that were made. It should also be noted that the employee(s) that failed should not be punished without just cause, and should not be publicly humiliated for their failure.
5. Encourage Collaboration
In many cases innovation isn’t just one person coming up with a good idea, it’s the product of many individuals coming together, and sharing their ideas with one another. Many brains are better than one, as the saying goes.
To help create an environment of collaboration, rather than competition, HR can encourage the various departments to work closely with one another, and even have employees take on temporary internal internships so that they can work with new people, and be exposed to new ideas.
6. Make Innovation a Factor in Performance Reviews
Let’s be honest, most employees are working towards getting a raise, and/or a promotion. This mindset can lead employees to focus only on what is covered in their performance reviews and completely ignore anything else.
To deal with this issue, make innovation a factor on your performance reviews, and make sure everyone knows about it. This will give employees a practical reason to try and be innovative.
7. Make the WorkSpace Comfortable
Innovation tends to flourish in environments that have little stress. Since work can inherently be stressful, it’s important for the HR department to do their best in providing the employees with a workspace that’s comfortable, and as stress-free as possible.
This can come in the form of more comfortable furniture, areas where employees can gather in small groups, and a well-stocked library. A company that makes its employees comfortable will provide a great environment in which innovative ideas can be born.