The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Innovation

06/07/2022

Creativity is one of the most in-demand soft skills in the UK (Source: Indeed), and it's no wonder. Technology organisations that have innovative minds running their operations typically have people...

Creativity is one of the most in-demand soft skills in the UK (Source: Indeed), and it's no wonder. 
Technology organisations that have innovative minds running their operations typically have people who can:

  1. Think critically.

  2. Solve problems. 

  3. Be flexible to what comes their way. 

In a market that’s changing on a near-daily basis, this is an incredible competitive advantage. One best secured.

In 2022, it seems that any firm that can recruit, retain, and facilitate a team of employees and embrace "outside of the box" thinking has the power to disrupt the digital economy as we know it.

That’s where workplace innovation comes in.

(Source: Thrive Global)

What is workplace innovation?

Workplace innovation, in simple terms, is the act of nurturing your employees’ ongoing development so you can utilise their skills to drive business growth. 

It’s not easy.

Workplace innovation often requires an intense organisational change where many structures and processes are upheaved, all to enable your human resources to work at their highest creative capacity; with little to no distractions. 

For example, this might mean implementing a rule that no emails can be sent until after 12pm on a working day - giving your staff three hours to “deep focus” on the work tasks that need completing.

Why is workplace innovation important?

In the technology industry, employees are the voice and the business is the megaphone. Without their staff members working behind the scenes, organisations would go nowhere. They’d be unable to:

  1. Design and develop products.

  2. Execute marketing strategies and reach their target audience.

  3. Respond to the demands of the market.

So, ultimately, when leaders recognise and answer the needs of their employees through workplace innovation, they can push towards continuous improvement.

The benefits of workplace innovation

When innovation is celebrated (and not squashed), firms are one step closer to becoming a market leader where the competition pays attention to you, and not the other way around. 

Therefore, creating an environment where creative employees can thrive is in a technology leader’s best interest. Workplace innovation:

  1. Helps a company to be more agile.

  1. Increases employee engagement.

  2. Makes the most effective use of your human resources (Source: Chron).

 

It ensures all employees are provided with the tools and resources they need to be creative and helps them get into a mindset that accelerates the growth of your company.

The challenges of workplace innovation

However, the organisational change required to start promoting workplace innovation doesn’t come without its own share of challenges. 

Businesses who want to disrupt the market and stimulate creativity on a daily basis need to walk the fine line between helpfully aiding their employees as opposed to adding to their burdens. 

Research taken post-pandemic revealed that an average of 77% of your workforce has already suffered from creative burnout  (Source: Deloitte), so suddenly demanding more from your team isn’t going to be effective. Without a well-planned strategy, you might spiral into a problem that’s already brewing, increasing stress levels and reducing the quality of your employees’ performance.

How to cultivate workplace innovation in 2022

It seems, then, that introducing workplace innovation isn’t a case of organising company-wide “think-tanks” or opportunities for teams to undergo more training. What works for one person might not work for another - and your strategy has to take this into account.

Step 1. Communicate

To truly implement workplace innovation into your technology firm, there’s an important step that can’t be missed… communication. Ask your employees what they are really struggling with and what’s eating up time in their day. While one staff member might hate paperwork, another might rely on it for a little break from their physically intense and demanding job. Don’t make assumptions, as this could cause harm and frustration.

Step 2. Slowly evolve

Once you have an understanding of what everybody needs to do their best work, you can start to evolve your company accordingly. 

  1. Make innovation and creativity part of your workplace’s core values.

  2. Promote freedom of thought.

  3. Encourage “speaking up”.

  4. Increase access to leadership.

  5. Design direct feedback channels.

  6. Give employees the time and space they need to innovate.

  7. Offer a variety of working environments where teams can succeed.

  8. Listen to suggestions.

  9. Celebrate when someone wants to try something new.

  10. Always be willing to take risks.

To succeed in implementing workplace innovation, you’ll have to be critical of how your company is currently operating. Take change slowly, keep employees in the loop, and don’t rush the process.

Step 3. Recognise and reward employee efforts

It’s not enough to boost workplace innovation on a one-off occasion. If you want to see an ongoing difference in your organisation through the output and performance of your employees, you need to recognise each of their achievements and reward those that go above and beyond. Although this is a scheme particularly effective for improving productivity, it can also play a part in fostering innovation.

“Recognising everyone for their efforts, not just the outcomes, doesn’t dilute the idea. Instead, it acts as a fertiliser. It energises individuals and the entire organisation and encourages people to keep contributing. The enthusiasm around trying to make things better is infectious and fun. That itself is a catalyst for creativity.” - Sustainable Brands

Step 4. Champion diversity

When you hire talent from all walks of life, backgrounds, and experience, you set the precedent for workplace innovation. If you can create a safe and nurturing environment for everyone to express their opinions, your technology teams will start to gain insight into new perspectives. This might influence how decisions are made and give you a chance to climb above the competition.

(Source: Connecteam)

Step 5. Recruit technology innovators through OHO

Creativity isn’t an acquired skill; it’s often one we’re born with. Recognising the potential of candidates who are applying to your job vacancies requires the in-depth industry expertise that OHO is known for.

We pride ourselves on being the meeting place where exceptional talent can connect with fascinating opportunities. We’re excited to be driving UK innovation. Where there’s a plan, we have the people.

We’re an established and respected consultancy that offers a range of specialist services to a broad spectrum of clients and candidates within the IT, Electronic Engineering, Finance and Consultancy sectors.

Find your next big innovator through us.

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Ten years ago, "disruptive" was a buzzword; a global phenomenon that held the top spot on every technology firm's to-do list. As 2019 came to a close:

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