If you want your employees at the forefront of innovation, let them fly free
Flying freely without hindrance is a desire most companies share. Being quick and innovative is a demand they also share, because it isn’t just the client at stake: technology has brought new actors, capital, resources and talent to different markets.
How can companies be more competitive with what they have? Internal innovation is a differential factor. But a company’s talent management, according to Deloitte in this article, is not restricted to attracting and retaining the right people; it is also a matter of getting the most from them.
To this effect, the article argues that employees should:
a) Be able to face complex challenges.
b) Do so collaborating among themselves, finding more and better solutions.
c) Find a useful, positive and tangible impact.
If we want to innovate, we must promote transversal collaboration and knowledge that flows between people.
For this purpose, it is important to define goals, make things easy and remove barriers.
Give people autonomy and let them fly freely, while keeping at least one foot on the ground.
Innovation with employees: committing to intrapreneurship.
Markets demand agility, but also addressing problems from an innovative and creative perspective; and pause and reflection are needed for this to be possible. In practice, both priorities appear to be in opposition.
Companies, for their part, demand passion, implication and an appetite for innovation from their employees. Also a multidisciplinary approach to resolving challenges, which is the result of collaboration among employees.
However, this approach only makes sense if the organization itself promotes a favorable foundation for innovation. To this end, as expressed in the following graph, a company’s management should:
1.- Lead by example.
Create a model that gives employees autonomy to, individually or collectively, solve problems. This is the only possible way for passion to flourish. In this sense, a committed management should minimize the fear of error, encourage teamwork, and detect and promote the people who, regardless of their position or origin, have the greatest potential for innovation.
2.- Provide focus.
Management should paint a common scenario and set a common goal to move towards, while making it clear that being autonomous does not mean acting independently. It should therefore clearly convey strategic objectives through plenty of communication, eliminating barriers between departments and functional areas, breaking down silos.
To be autonomous, employees should refer to the organization’s roadmap; this should stay present and not dissipate between the sea of tasks that make up their daily activities.
As symbolized by the graph, getting the machinery to move with agility requires the cogs to fit together.
3.- Create a favorable environment.
And conductive to innovation, where responsible autonomy outweighs tight control over people. Often, particularly in middle management, a policy of exhaustive reporting on actions not only crushes autonomy, it also affects the productivity and creativity of employees.
By contrast, where there is communication and a common culture, employees can be empowered more easily and with a greater likelihood of success.
In essence, being innovative requires attracting, retaining, and especially, developingtalent.
And this requires letting each person fly free, making them feel passionate about what they do.