All across the country–and even around the world–more and more business leaders are recognizing the value of encouraging innovative thinking in the workplace. Innovation isn’t something that happens naturally for most. By encouraging employees to think “outside the box” in business you can improve innovation in the workplace. These simple strategies can give you a head start.
Tack on an extra time for your meetings.
Most business meetings are hurried affairs, squeezed in during busy parts of the day when workers already feel like they have too much to do. Allowing even an extra 5 to 10 minutes gives employees a brief window of time where they can process what’s been said and offer their own insights or considerations. Take the time to pause and reflect during critical moments in the meetings, giving the opportunity for workers to write notes or just think through a problem.
Change your approach to breaks.
Business leaders often take the marathon approach to business. They expect their workers to operate at maximum speed for hours at a time, often forcing the employees to remember long to-do lists all while multitasking. This way of working means that, by the time employees have a break, they’re mentally fried and typically have forgotten at least a few details. Instead of one 15 minute break every few hours, shorten the breaks but give them more frequently so that your workers can concentrate on issues soon after they are brought up without getting overwhelmed.
Start an email or chat chain.
The bulk of businesses now use interdepartmental email and chat services to communicate, along with various mobile services such as texting. Take advantage of this technology to put out a quote or question of the day to keep employees thinking creatively. Workers can read these at their leisure and store them in labeled folders for reference if desired.
While it is commonplace to reward accomplishments at work we aren’t as familiar with rewarding those who have creative ideas and take risks that don’t necessarily work out. In making sure your employees are at least recognized, if not rewarded, for taking the risk to think “outside the box” you are setting up a psychological environment where employees see that there is a payoff involved with stretching themselves creatively. If your company isn’t comfortable offering incentives to employees for simply taking a chance, then at very least keep in mind that employees should not fear being penalized if they take a chance and it doesn’t work out.
Hire a speaker.
Even though resources such as books are terrific, sometimes people don’t click with information until they’ve seen how it can work one-on-one with someone else. Simply being able to hear someone else talk about ideas and get questions answered can make a difference. Speakers are also much harder to ignore and generate more excitement than, say, a memo. You can hire speakers who specialize in creating a innovative work environment, or even hiring a motivational speaker who can just get people excited about a new topic and thinking in a positive manner can benefit your employees.
Create a sharing board.
A sharing board is a cork or white board you put up in a prominent area of the office. You and your workers can use the board to post questions, offer congratulations or make suggestions. You might even post a comic you know workers will relate to. You can encourage people to leave their names on what is posted so it’s easy for you to address their concerns or ideas personally, but this isn’t required, and many people feel more comfortable with anonymous posts. The only rule here is that workers keep their posts clean, respectful and positive. The board is also a good place for announcements related to recent innovations in the workplace or even within the energy sector.
At SCR, we can help you find the experienced, innovative energy sector talent you need. We supply talent throughout the world, and we can find you the people you need for your organization or your next project. Contact us today!