Fostering innovation has been at the forefront of conversations for many business leaders in recent years. In the fast-paced environment of modern-day business, a commitment to embracing innovative ideas is required to keep you ahead of the curve. By harnessing a company culture that makes employees feel heard and taken care of, employees will feel empowered to contribute to company growth and culture. That can be easier said than done – so where do you start?

Defining Innovation

We can describe innovation at work in much the same way as we describe innovation in the market, by differentiating between incremental innovations and disruptive innovations. Incremental innovations, also known as sustaining innovations, consist of improving your existing offerings in fostering loyalty towards your brand. Disruptive innovations consist of new ideas, products, and adopting cutting-edge technology; this type of innovation usually takes on more risk. These patterns hold true when fostering innovation in the workplace. Assess where you are at: You can either take the existing workplace culture and drive it towards an ever-refined goal or dive into a new status quo with big exciting changes. Let’s consider some variables at play in developing workplace innovation ideas.

If you’re looking for innovative ideas in the workplace, a good place to start is with the talent pool itself. Your workplace culture and standards begin with people having ideas, and those ideas develop and change as more people get to interact with them. In other words, improving your current talent improves those ideas. Incremental innovation at work may involve internal promotions, training, and opportunities for your employees to refine their skill sets and better themselves. Disruptive innovation may involve the creation of new workplace traditions, initiatives, and rewards for your employees, or even introducing new incentives, benefits, and partnerships. You may even introduce new positions to your organization and recruit new talent that is dedicated to innovation and exploring new technology. These are just some examples of ways to demonstrate to your employees how you as an organization are committed to innovation and welcome their contributions to those initiatives. 

Innovation at Work: Leadership and Employee Engagement

When it comes to introducing and fostering innovation, team alignment is key. Leadership must be clear about their goals and solicit employee engagement. On the other hand, employees should be expected to participate. Leadership should prioritize rewarding creativity and welcome opportunities for feedback that can improve the organization. Getting feedback from employees is an excellent way to encourage engagement and learn what areas would benefit most from workplace innovation ideas. For innovation at work to function, everyone has to meet in the middle in a top-down and bottom-up approach. Opening the floor for structured risk-taking empowers your employees to go out on a limb and offer input they might otherwise not. Brainstorming sessions and the aforementioned strategies of open feedback and improving training opportunities grow confidence in your employees, blazing the way for them to drive workplace innovation ideas that were previously out of reach. The real takeaway is to find out what your employees really want and assess whether it will improve your business. Putting your people first will go a long way in motivating them to bring their absolute best to their work every day.

Adapting to Change and Innovative Ideas in the Workplace

The landscape of work in the United States is radically different today. Workplace standards and ideas that would have sounded whimsical and out of place just ten years ago are within reach today, and better yet, they make the workforce happier, more creative, and more productive. Keep an open mind to new practices –  they might be true innovations at work. Some features of the modern workplace pertain to policy and procedures. Contemporary employees often look for parental leave, hybrid or remote work, and other benefits as key indicators for flexibility. Introducing them into your workplace will not only aid recruitment but also retention.

However, other key components of a flexible workplace have less to do with those concrete work policies and more to do with attitude. Devote resources towards staying on top of the latest developments in project management and adjust your management training appropriately. We recommend hosting these trainings regularly and openly. If you maintain the stance that no one in the company is left behind when information changes, your veteran employees will continue to feel valued and included. Most of what we’ve covered so far might fall under the umbrella of incremental innovation, or relatively safe disruptive innovation. We haven’t gone in-depth to discuss one of the strongest disruptive tools for fostering innovation: recruitment.

Recruiting as a Tool for Fostering Innovation

As mentioned above, ideas originate from and are refined by people. Hiring is an essential aspect of running a business and always will be. So why not leverage it as a tool for fostering innovation? When you take your focus off of hiring, you leave talent, innovative ideas, and your future on the table. Working with a recruitment agency is an excellent way to optimize your potential talent to this end. Recruiting agencies specialize in finding the right fit for the job, developing long-lasting relationships with key talent, and increasing the pool of readily available skilled labor. Without having to focus on these aspects of hiring, your company can balance other aspects. This may include developing a respectable brand, building stellar products and services, designing exceptional workplace practices and culture, etc. Depending on the industry, a recruiting agency can give you an even bigger leg up. After all, the readily available workforce may be minuscule. Why waste time when you can easily hire the cream of the crop?

Brightwing for Better Innovations

Traditional job postings do work to find new and innovative employees – most of the time. But if you want your talent pool to be far above average, work with Brightwing. With some of the highest retention rates in the industry, our approach has a proven track record of success. We hand-pick everyone we work with, both candidates and clients. Brightwing specializes in hiring for IT, engineering, financial services, and operations work. Contact us today to start innovating in your hiring processes.