New Ideas Reveal Character Of Your Workplace
Encouraging new ideas at work starts with your organization’s culture, and that starts with leadership. When everyone feels safe to offer new ways to work and improve efficiency, your organization will have more ways to constantly improve.
Organizations that succeed are those that constantly improve themselves and their offerings. But don’t expect the few people at the top to be responsible for all the interesting new thinking in the organization. After all, it’s generally the people closest to the problem — and the customer — who are closest to the best solution.
Encouraging ideas from all over the organization helps each individual employee reach his or her full potential. And this strengthens the culture by increasing trust and buy-in. When employees are empowered this way, they feel safe to take calculated risks and chase continuous improvement.
Our brains are wired to worry about change — that is, unless we had a part in planning it or truly and completely understand the reasons behind it. One way to help with this is to tie every new change or idea to your organization’s mission and values.
Only 60 percent of employees at the average organization responds positively to the statement “New ideas are encouraged at this company,” according to the annual employee survey administered by Energage. But at Top Workplaces, this jumps to 80 percent to 90 percent. Here’s how to get there:
- Make it safe for employees to share all ideas. When this happens, they’ll also feel safe to take calculated risks and chase continuous improvement.
- Allow employees and teams to dedicate time to innovation every week. One of the best ways to encourage new ideas is to act on the ones you receive.
- Not all ideas will fit your culture or strategy. One way to manage that is to encourage people to discuss ideas with their peers and seek out potential obstacles.
One of the best ways to encourage new ideas is to act on the ones you receive. Not all ideas will fit your culture or strategy. One way to handle these ideas is to encourage people to discuss them with their peers or seek out potential obstacles.
Ideas can — and should — come from anywhere. Often customers and the frontline people who work with them will have the most interesting and valuable ideas. Note that ideas are not industry-dependent; ideas on how to work are just as important as ideas on what to work on.
When everyone feels confident offering news ideas, your organization will thrive.
Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.
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