Employee engagement and innovation are often thought of as two unique disciplines, with HR at the helm of engagement and innovation being ruled by an entirely different business entity. But here’s a thought to consider: the two don’t have to be separate and distinct. In fact, innovation and engagement are very much intertwined as we share here and here.
To save you some time, here’s a quick rundown of those two posts: organizations need engaged employees. It’s those who are engaged that create those groundbreaking ideas that shake up and shape up an organization, which feeds directly into the hungry inventive spirit of a company and inspires innovation.
Moreover, innovation generates a positive cyclical effect. It encourages further engagement through an appropriate and personalized recognition and reward system—and we stress the word “personalized” as not every employee appreciates the same type of reward. Some employees may be on the “basic” level of engagement, working 9 to 5 just to pay the bills and put food on the table, while others may have already reached heightened engagement, wanting to share their knowledge and wisdom with other employees and continue to help build the organization they work for.
Which leads us to our point: ideas are the highest form of engagement, and only those who have reached that heightened engagement level will continue to produce practical, mindful, and necessary ideas. Not every idea may be able to be implemented today, but with a steady five or ten-year plan, any idea can build an organization’s momentum and keep it moving forward.
So what are the best ways to engage while you innovate? Let’s look at a few ideas from our Five Key Elements eBook and use this as a foundation for how to engage while innovating.
1. Setting Clear Goals and Strategy
New Years has just recently come and gone, with many of us making goals to improve ourselves in one way or another. One lesson that many of us have taken from this annual practice is that in order to achieve these goals, they need to be specific and concise. From an innovation perspective, this is no different. Clear goals that are set up as stepping stones to a greater overall strategy is the only way for an organization to monitor and ensure that all bases are covered and guarantee that the final greater goal will be reached.
Each and every goal you strive to accomplish must also be coupled with engagement strategies that will speak to those involved and keep them in the loop about a goal’s progress. Consider the key engagement metrics, such as:
- Percentage of active users
- Adoption rates
These numbers give everyone a way to visualize, measure, and keep track of a goal’s success. Watching the numbers rise or fall inspires employees to seek solutions so that the metrics they’re seeing will reach both their and the organization’s expectations.
2. Supportive Leadership
World renowned research group Gallup continues to monitor cause and effect relationships of employees and employers in the workplace with their study, “State of the American Workplace.” One stunning take-away from their latest report is that 70 percent of workers in the United States aren’t engaged in the workplace. As dire as this statistic may seem, their studies have surmised that there are a handful of essential actions that organizations can take to drastically improve this number, with one being for leadership to be more involved in the employee engagement process. Leadership needs to start rolling up their sleeves and getting involved from the ground floor up, understanding the pains and gains of the daily grind and realizing the hardships—and potential solutions—that each department has available to them.
Having an appreciation for their work won’t only give you incredible insight, but your staff will feel supported by the organization and will be encouraged to commit to their work and become more deeply invested in the company.