Innovation is critical to all aspects of running a business – any business, regardless of its size, industry or mission. You need a steady flow of creativity and engagement from every employee and every team in order to ensure optional results and ongoing growth.

Here are five suggestions:

Make employees an active part of your business.

It’s their business too. Give them a sense of ownership in company progress, developments, and results. Make every individual realize they’re critical to your business agenda and plans.

Solicit their ideas. Invite them to participate, and listen actively to what they have to say. Let them know how much you rely on them and how their input can lead to bigger paychecks and more career security. And, keep your word.

Train for innovation.

Use proven techniques to train employees to be more innovative. Make sure management supports training at every level of your organization. In order to drive change, this needs to be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

Training is not an end in itself, but innovation leaders who use the right mix of training, coaching, and development will see people begin to foster game-changing concepts and solutions.

Recognize risk-taking and promote learning from mistakes.

Encourage employees to take calculated risks. Tolerate mistakes and ensure that the entire team learns from them. If this is the outcome, and long-term improvements result, then it’s worth the initial expense involved.

If the decision is to let an employee sink or swim, always choose “swim.” As good as “show” and “tell” are, true learning comes from doing. So letting people sink a little, flounder a bit, come up for air and maybe even sink a little further can often be the first step to steadfast growth and learning. Eventually, they’ll swim like you never thought possible.

Reward creativity.

Use individual and team recognition to give something back when employees come up with great ideas.

There is no one who doesn’t like being recognized for a job well done. Through appropriate rewards, you motivate employees to continue performing well, with the same high level of passion.

Act on employee suggestions.

When a good idea stems from your employee think tank, take prompt action to implement it. Otherwise, people will quickly realize that their creativity will be wasted, and the flow of innovation will cease. And it’s a real morale and engagement killer, too.

Continuously grow your business – and your workforce – and promote innovation and success, both for your company and for your employees and their careers. For additional resources, tips and ideas, read our related posts or contact TRC Professional Solutions today.

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