11 August, 2023
Rewarding Innovation at Work: Creating the Ideal R&R Framework
“Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…the ones that change things.” Steve Jobs
Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to remaining relevant in today’s hyper-competitive business environment. Out-of-the-box thinking is increasingly credited for the success of many giants, notably those in tech like Google, Meta, and Apple. However, most companies are unable to tap into the creative genius of their employees either due to no incentives or R&R policies that look better on paper than in practice. In this blog, we will discuss simple, actionable ways in which companies can reward innovation at work.
Francesca Gino, a Harvard professor, and celebrated author highlighted the need to ‘constructively break rules’ at work to achieve success in her bestselling book ‘Rebel Talent’. Gino describes 5 ways in which ‘standout employees’ do things differently to help their companies succeed. They-
- 1. Try new things
- 2. Ask questions
- 3. Work to expand their base of knowledge
- 4. Resist categorization and stereotypes
- 5. Show their authentic selves at work
Creating a work environment that can support innovation can result in higher employee engagement and work satisfaction, her research claims. Embracing these qualities within employees can help rather than hinder progress, once they are aligned with organizational goals. Here are some ways in which companies can foster ingenuity within their workforce:
- 1. Having a formal recognition program
Establishing a tiered award system that recognizes different levels of innovation, from incremental improvements to game-changing breakthroughs. Employees can receive badges, certificates, or trophies based on the impact of their innovations.
Designate a physical and virtual space where employees can collaborate on innovative projects during ‘innovation hours’. Offer 360-degree support like financial help, time off, or bonuses depending on your organization’s budget.
- 3. Cross-Functional Collaboration
Organize time-bound innovation challenges where cross-functional teams work on solving specific problems. The winning team could receive a unique experience or an exclusive development opportunity.
Feeling seen and accepted for their unique ideas is an important quality that employees seek in their managers. Coaching leaders and managers on careful listening and constructive feedback can be a foundational step to enabling an innovative work culture.
Host innovative showcases where employees present their ideas to senior leadership and peers. Recognize outstanding presenters with a spotlight feature in an employee recognition platform like Gratifi.
A recent study shows that 74% of Millennial and Gen Z employees are likely to quit within the next year due to a lack of skills development opportunities. Just having a sound learning portal is not enough. Incentivize learning by allotting ‘innovation hours’ as Google does and reward the completion of each learning module through our points-based reward system.
Fostering innovation requires a shift in work culture, which can be perpetuated by an effective R&R framework. Some concluding pointers to keep in mind are-
- 1. Ensure the R&R policy clearly states the types of behaviors to be acknowledged as innovative such as a process change or something as notable as a patent/IP
- 2. Implement rewards organization-wide to send a clear message about the value placed on innovation at work. Public recognition via employee recognition software can help in this regard
- 3. Let awards be personalized, timely, and engaging ranging from badges, certificates, experiences, and development opportunities to even bonuses and promotions within the organization
- 4. Measure the success of your R&R efforts by directly tying cutting-edge initiatives to the organization’s bottom line
- 5. Finally, remember to appreciate your colleagues’ efforts, irrespective of the results. This will create a culture of experimentation, encouraging more and more employees to bring out their creative selves at work.
Join us to discover the ultimate guide to revolutionizing recognition and rewards at work!