How to Encourage Innovation on the Job

Author: Angela Campiere       

employee confidence

The lack of confidence employees feel to contribute ideas is holding back businesses, organizations, and workers, experts say.

Are your innovative ideas at work valued? While 91 percent of employees say it’s important to work for an organization that values innovation, only 63 percent say their current workplace actively encourages new or innovative ideas, according to a recent poll of more than 3,000 workers conducted by SurveyMonkey for Fast Company.

The research also found that the confidence to contribute innovative ideas varies by position level. While 71 percent of C-suite respondents believe they have ample opportunities to contribute innovative ideas at work, just 22 percent of people not in management say the same.

That, experts say, is holding businesses, organizations, and workers back. “Sometimes the best ideas come from team members who aren’t packing the pedigreed credentials or working in the C-suites,” Gail Levy, CEO of water company HFactor, earlier told Business News Daily. “The companies that have risen above others challenge their staff to be innovative in an all-inclusive community. Executives must constantly … make each person feel no idea is bad or too far-fetched.”

Factors stopping employees from bringing innovative ideas to the table, according to research reported in 2017 by the University of Phoenix, include lack of time (36 percent), lack of funding (30 percent), lack of training (27 percent), lack of encouragement (26 percent), and lack of technology (24 percent).

How can workers boost their innovation? Experts suggest scheduling time to be creative.

“Professionals need to set aside time for innovation on a consistent basis — and the time needs to be prioritized,” Dan Pickett, former CEO of networking company nfrastructure, told Business News Daily.

Other findings from the Fast Company survey include:

  • Regardless of race, gender, title, income level, or industry those surveyed say they are more likely to choose a job that offers 20 percent more compensation over one where they could dedicate 20 percent of work time to innovative side projects that benefit the company.
  • While that finding was true for full-time (70 percent) and part-time (63 percent) workers, a higher number of part-timers (35 percent) said they would opt for the job with more innovation time compared to full-time workers (28 percent).

Fast Company did the survey as part of the inaugural edition of its Best Workplaces for Innovators. The list of the 50 winning companies appears in the September issue of the magazine.