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Do You Think Your Employees Have Stopped Innovating? This Could Be The Reason.

Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity... and not a threat.
- Steve Jobs

Coming from the founder of one of the most innovative companies in the world, the quote seems legitimate enough for us to believe, and follow it. Innovation is like fruit that is just out of grasps, and you have to risk a jump and a fall to grab it.

Though most companies will refuse to agree, many of them, inadvertently, do not support innovation. They don’t encourage their employees to innovate either. Innovation comes at a cost and with the risk of failure. People have a natural fear towards being seen as a failure, and this propels them to stick to the routine that works. And this one factor goes on to differentiate the great from the ordinary.

If you think that you or your employees have stopped innovating, you need to take a look at the cause of the problem and rectify it to get back on track. Here’s where you can start.

Innovation at work

5 Reasons Why Your Employees Could Have Stopped Innovating!

Pay heed to these factors that may be contributing to the lack of innovation in your organisation!

1. Fear Of Failure

This is by far the topmost reason why both managers and employees choose not to innovate. We are used to being condemned for failure in education or in conforming to social norms. This aversion to risk is ingrained in our minds.

If you look back at the most recent innovations, most risked the fear of failing because they seemed implausible at the time the idea was conceived. It is often a lonely path to walk. The only workaround is if a company’s management uses a top-down approach to demonstrate that failures will not sound the death knell and instead will be viewed as opportunities to rectify mistakes and move forward.

2. Not Having Sufficient Resources

Employees are given targets and expected to put in six-day work weeks in order to achieve them. The daily load of work is in itself so huge that employees don’t have time to think of innovations.

The work culture and environment become a stifling factor because these targets are directly linked to pay raises and promotions.

The solution is to put in innovation as one of the elements that are directly related to performance. It’ll ensure that the thought of innovating is continuously on the radar.

3. Not Having A Rewarding Culture

At the end of the day, rewards, recognition and non-monetary benefits are as significant as the salary an employee makes. If an employee is rewarded, it makes them feel valuable and more engaged with the company. This is noticed by their peers and inspires them too.

Recognitions can come as simple shout outs in emails or weekly meetings. You can have an informal culture where you give out fun but meaningful rewards and a formal one that can be given out annually.

4. Innovation Not Factored In The Work Culture

Companies who put innovation on the front often have it as a part of their core values. They expect employees to innovate as a part of the job. The only way this can be implemented is when there is a top-down approach to demonstrate and support innovation.

Often, poor leadership becomes the reason employees don’t feel motivated to innovate. Sometimes, employees also feel threatened by their leadership. If a manager chooses to present a junior’s idea as their own, employees will lose trust and stop innovating.

To counter this, build your core values around innovation and make sure it reflects to clients, employees, customers and partners in everything you do.

5. Lack Of Knowledge

Many employees want to innovate but don’t know where to begin. At such times, the ideas for innovation can come from different sources, and it is up to the company to lead the way. For example, allowing employees to talk to customers and asking for feedback is one of the most common was to understand their direct and latent needs. It also helps the company know how it is faring on the fundamental level.

Another way to propel innovation is to get a motivational speaker who can recharge employees and push them to move out of their comfort zone and try new things. Such speakers have specialised skills that can inspire innovation and teamwork. It is essential to choose the right motivational speaker, though, who doesn’t just dole out advice from 30,000 feet but has some degree of relevant experience. This will allow employees to create a better connection with them.

One more way to foster innovation within the company can be during company retreats. You can take employees out of their everyday setup and let them share a fresh perspective in a relaxed and inspiring environment. Involve them in a brainstorming and team building activity where they feel their views are valued and accepted. Highlight contributions from everyone and acknowledge them during meetings and conversations. During this at intervals will build a system of innovation within the company.

It can be something as simple as creating an internal company page to post ideas, a specific monthly meeting with the manager asking “How can we improve?” or rewarding even small but significant ideas. All these may not cost a massive budget to the company, but the returns can help the company change directions at critical junctures, retain engaged employees and find new business opportunities.

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