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Improve your performance by combining Employee Engagement, Productivity and Innovation

Innovation can help organisations self-heal minor problems and become more productive without the need for extensive managerial input.

In 2016 we made a fantastic discovery which led to improved employee satisfaction and performance, which in turn drove company performance forward in leaps and bounds. So what was our secret? 

I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life delivering Innovation support. I’ve got more dints in my head from banging it against brick walls than I care to count, simply because so many people still don’t get what Innovation is about, and think it’s purely about science, technology, research and developing new products.

In 2014 I completed a study in Innovation Skills for Lancashire County Council and made a discovery which led me to take a deliberate shift in a slightly different direction. I found that while the US and UK governments were focusing their innovation activities on the old sci-tech agenda, the Australians took a different approach. Thinking they couldn’t compete with Hong Kong in the tech arena, they announced that Innovation should be more about people – “any person in any business can suggest an idea which will make the business better”. They absolutely nailed it.

This caused my shift towards Organisational Innovation and the development of my philosophy that the growth of a business is driven by the knowledge, experience and creativity within the workforce.

Many managers want to develop more dynamic and innovative organisations, but don’t have the time. Combine this with my belief that most employees (including managers) tend to work to their job descriptions and leave 80% of their life knowledge and experience at home when they go to work, then we’ve got a large creative space to help improve personal performance and contribution within businesses.

This came to fruition when we delivered a workforce support programme to a client to help their staff think more creatively. They reported back to us that they solved a specific problem for a mere £5, which the management team had budgeted £15k to resolve – they achieved this by using their wider knowledge, experience and creativity and thinking outside of their job description.

But that wasn’t the best bit – they told us that when the staff walked past the £5 solution they smirked at the managerial offices, in a show of self-appreciation. They were proud of their solution, and wanted to do more to show what they were capable of achieving. Other staff members noticed this new “swagger” and wanted to become involved.

Before long, the workforce began solving an array of problems within the business and identifying several new opportunities to do things better, faster or in a more cost effective manner – without being asked.

The impact of this was instrumental – firstly, the organisation began to self-heal minor problems and become more productive, and then it began to develop and grow without the need for extensive managerial input.

Sure, we’re aware that this is a process that has to be carefully managed – but our courses fully allow for this. Rather than providing support from the top-down where there’s little time for change and development, we build the capability from the bottom up where there are more people, more impact and more effect at the root operational level.

We then complement this with an innovation champion (or champions) who act as the conduit between the workforce and senior management team, ensuring that the direction is appropriate and the activities become embedded in the organisational culture.

So, by allowing the workforce to think for themselves and capitalise on our 3 key factors – knowledge, experience and creativity – we were able to help companies:

  • Maximise their productivity
  • Develop their business to grow by itself
  • Turn problems into opportunities
  • Increase the value of your organisation
  • Improve your staff engagement and satisfaction

So if you want to achieve any or all of the above this year, why not give us a call? We’d love to find out more about what you do, and how you can achieve and exceed your goals using the collective knowledge, experience and creativity within your workforce.

Richard Harrison