Companies seem to often look to their leadership to come up with innovative ideas that will ensure ground breaking success for them. And that is a fair expectation. Many visionaries have single handedly led their companies to achieve extraordinary success. Despite overwhelming odds. Say the word Apple, and you would mostly associate it with Steve Jobs as opposed to Newton or Adam!
How to get ideas from employees?
Albeit fresh innovative ideas can come from everyone, and not just the leaders or top management. They can also come from those who are most closely involved with the company’s products and services: its employees. Here’s how you tap into this resource pool and get ideas that may have the potential to help the company achieve phenomenal success.
Ask for ideas!:
Make it known that the company is looking for ideas from its employees and communicate that widely. Even the notion that the company is looking to its employees to come up innovative and creative ideas can ensure that employees put on their thinking hats and dig deep to make a meaningful contribution. You never know what you can get unless you ask for it!
The right environment:
Some of the best ideas are realized not in office but in coffee shops or bars. When people are relaxed, their creative potential is significantly higher. Definitely more than when they are sitting on their desks in the office or in boardrooms. Creativity is a result of concentrated thought and collaborative energy. Something that a stifling office environment just cannot guarantee.
Make sure that your organisation encourages a productive and happy work culture. Allow them to focus and concentrate thoroughly. In addition to these private spaces, the teams should also have access to a place where they easily gather and collaborate. That’s how all innovative ideas can be discussed and agreed/disagreed upon.
Identify the problem finders:
There are problem solvers and then there are problem finders. The latter are especially good at identifying problems that may not necessarily be easily spotted. They are used to challenge the conventional methods and seek ways to consistently improve them. Problem finders also understand when it’s appropriate not to answer a proposed question. They ask a different question that looks at the problem from a whole another perspective.
What gets their creative juices flowing:
There is no universal formula to motivate employees. Every employee has a unique set of interests and is motivated by these accordingly. Companies need to identify these interests and leverage them to motivate respective individuals. Once you understand what your team members value, help them tap into it.
Some want strategic responsibilities while some crave recognition for hard work. Others may want some more flexibility in their work due to personal commitments or choices. There are those who believe there should be paid vacations to help them unwind and resume with renewed vigour. Identifying your employee’s key drivers for motivation is the difference between success and failure.
Don’t undervalue learning and development:
To bring out the best in your people, you need to help them grow in their jobs and develop new skills. If lack of skill is something that is holding them back from giving their best, then its best that this concern is addressed immediately. Sometimes that’s managers may get scared that after acquiring the necessary skills, some individuals may leave their job and look for better opportunities. And that does appear to be a concern. But like one expert said, the cost of letting unskilled employees stay is much higher than letting them go after training and development initiatives.
Don’t sit on innovative ideas- Implement them:
There are managers who invite their employees to share their ideas but end up saying, “This is how we have always done it”. This discourages employees and is highly demotivating. After a certain point of time, it is bound to reduce their enthusiasm to actively contribute any idea. Don’t be that guy. Go ahead and implementideas that are within the realm of possibility. Whether they succeed or fail is another thing. But its important to keep on trying. This also ensures employees that their innovative ideas are valued, motivating them further.
Your employees are most valued assets. The more you invest in them and value their opinion, the more employee engagement you will see throughout the organisation.
Like Richard Branson said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”