vendredi 20 décembre 2013

It’s Time to Reward Corporate Innovators: Your Employees

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, or be described as one, said the Wall Street Journal the other day. There’s some truth in that. In a world where most businesses are small businesses, that’s a good thing. But what does that mean for large corporates? Do they need to be brimming with entrepreneurs? Can they cultivate that factor?
Yes and yes. As we look toward the new year, innovation remains a top priority for executives and individual entrepreneurialism is critical to underpin that.
My colleague, Matt Reilly, has penned an excellent column in Bloomberg Businessweek in which he says that organizations need to change their mindset on innovation risk by worrying less about the possibility that a new idea may fail and do more to encourage risk-taking and innovation.
A new survey of 800 employees of large U.S. corporations by Accenture reveals that only one in five believe management at their company supports innovation, and only an eighth believe management does a very good job of accepting failure.
Considering how critical innovation is to supporting growth in an extremely competitive global market, this is a very troubling finding and speaks volumes about the need to shore up the corporate innovation process.
It is clear that managers must reward employees for all of their contributions to corporate innovation, not just for the ideas that work, or they risk losing their most talented people…and their competitive edge.
The main obstacles that sap the energy of would be corporate entrepreneurs are the sheer lack of time, the lack of management support for idea generation and the lack of incentives.
So it should come as no surprise that when Accenture polled self-employed individuals, we found that nearly one-third said they started their own business in order to have the freedom to pursue their own ideas. Even though start-ups play an important role in economic growth, however, established companies simply cannot afford to lose talented people who know how to generate new ideas, and they must focus more energy on supporting employees’ desire to be entrepreneurial.
The nub of the issue may be that management is failing to strike the right balance between quality and quantity. Indeed, not all ideas are good ones – and encouraging more ideas does not mean tolerating more poor ones. The problem is not the lack of ideas, but the lack of a process to weed out the bad ones and put resources behind the good.
Managers can do a better job of designing processes that enable them to evaluate new ideas more quickly. The way to do that is to establish a “push and pull” model that can help companies nurture entrepreneurial talent and channel it more effectively. Management needs to push employees to be more creative by changing the corporate culture to embrace the process of idea generation. At the same time, they must pull employees into the game by rewarding them appropriately for suggesting and developing new ideas that can benefit the company.
Reading many of the views of fellow LinkedIn Influencer contributors, there’s a growing recognition that today’s digital-savvy employees are more in tune with customers than ever before. All signs indicate that they are more interested in innovation, have the capabilities to make a difference and are very eager to participate. While some managers may be overwhelmed by the ideas being generated by their staff, now is the time to harness employees’ creativity in more transparent and decisive ways.
Photo: Shutterstock

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