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2 Essential Ways A Culture of Innovation Benefits Businesses

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Would you be prepared to do what it takes to improve employee engagement and ultimately your overall business performance?

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Research (featured in Real Business a few days ago) conducted by incentive services firm Xactly suggests, not many employers in the UK are. Tom Castley, ‎VP of EMEA at Xactly said: “It’s been found that money can be a great source of motivation for the UK’s workforce and has the power to increase productivity, but many employees have no chance of receiving cash rewards from bosses.”

This is an unfortunate state of affairs and, as the research asserts, its one that can be tackled if employers are willing to offer some form of compensation or incentive to motivate their workforce.

Getting your staff motivated and keeping them that way is the holy grail of business. One area we believe that can absolutely make a difference is to introduce a culture of innovation within an organisation. A business culture that has innovation at its core will experience many benefits but we will look at just two of the areas that can move your business in the right direction.

A more committed workforce

“At its heart, employee engagement is about having motivated staff who understand and are committed to their organisation’s goals and, importantly, work in an environment that allows them to flourish and perform at their best” – Wendy Cartwright, Director of Corporate Services at University of East London

Earlier this year HR Magazine highlighted that only a third of people were fully engaged at work and subsequently not reaching their full potential. This means that more than 60% were not fully engaged; now that’s huge.

A key outcome of a culture of innovation is that it encourages everyone across an organisation to work together to develop new ideas to improve how the business is run. This has the knock-on effect of creating a more engaged and committed workforce.

Castley stated:  “While money is unsurprisingly a big driver in encouraging staff to go above and beyond the call of duty, it is not the sole motivator.” Recognition is key. Keeping your employees motivated and engaged relies on regularly acknowledging their contributions to the innovation process. 27% employees said internal recognition would help them go that extra mile for the business they worked for. Value your employees and they are more likely to value your organisation. “A 2014 study surveyed 2,415 employees in 10 countries and 7 languages. The data from it suggests a strong correlation between loyalty and acknowledgement.” (Source: Harvard Business Review 2015)

A company that has an everyday culture of innovation should strive to acknowledge and reward employee’s ideas on a regular basis, which goes a long way to building employee engagement and loyalty. Engaged employees believe in their work, their managers and the company they work for.

Boosts Productivity

Castley again states that amongst businesses here in the UK there’s a gap between what businesses are doing to engage their employees and what motivates employees. Innovation is a great way to bridge this gap. He also said that ‘the best way to boost productivity is to boost employee engagement.’ As you read above, the best way to boost employee engagement is to create a business culture where innovation is encouraged.

As Chaplin, featured in the factory scene from his last silent film ‘Modern Times’ implies, having workers repeat a given process many times, without having a say on improving the process turns man into machine.

When you fail to listen to your workforce all the problems associated with the production process ends up affecting the end product or service, which eventually ends up costing the company a lot more just to fix the problem.

Nestor Gismondi, Consultant at Director of Customer Development with R&G Global Consultants and CEO of Bluneo believes that business adopting innovation can increase their productivity by as much as 25%.

‘Toyota developed the capability to collect small ideas that were generated by its employees. When added together, all of these small ideas helped to improve productivity dramatically.’ Gismondi

Although Toyota established this process back in the 70’s, this approach is still of value today, whether applied to a production line or the service industry.

“Smart, performance based financial reward must be utilised to help the UK pull itself out of the productivity pit.” – Tom Castley VP of EMEA at Xactly. It’s time for businesses to look at how to promote innovation within their business and to acknowledge and reward their employees input, as this holds the key to employee engagement, increased productivity, and ultimately profitability.

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