Employee Experience: Enhancing the Ability to Create & Innovate CEO Insights 11-5-2020 By Jim Steinlage President & Chief Executive Officer Does your organization view creativity and innovation as business assets? It should be a way of thinking for your team, especially during these times. You may not get too many at bats, so recognizing and seizing opportunities while avoiding setbacks will require imagination, inventiveness, and outside-the-box thinking. A Recent Gallup Study found three foundational factors are needed to foster creativity in the workplace: expectation, time, and freedom. To implement such an environment requires two important steps: 1. Establishing an employee experience that encourages workers to aspire to be inventive and innovative. 2. Removing the barriers that prevent workers from being creative. One of the biggest mistakes organizations can make is not giving their workers the ability to think outside-the-box. Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, our workplace has changed in somewhat remarkable ways because of the demands and creative ideas fostered by workers. Innovative organizations are now focused not only on an enhanced digital customer experience, but on an improved employee experience as well. It’s been long overdue, but the pandemic has resulted in business leaders shifting their focus to increase the value of HR and the concerns of employees, many of whom work remotely. Organizations whose HR and IT departments understood where the future was heading in competing for talent before the pandemic were quickly successful in making the transition. Others still struggle with internal systems not fully equipped to deliver the tools and technologies employees need to innovate. For those organizations, a quick fix is hoping a rush to the cloud can help them. Creativity, Tools, and Technologies Organizations are finding out that there is a strong link between company success and employees who say they have the right tools for enhancing their job performance. With remote work now being a way of life due to COVID-19, organizations must re-think how they can drive employee engagement and productivity. There are numerous ways to help create an employee experience that enhances creativity and innovation. • Listen to your team members with open minds and value their input. • Tell workers that innovation, efficiency, and automation are part of their jobs in the future of work, and then give them vehicles and tools to take risks and generate ideas, improvements, and targets. • Incentivize with monetary rewards and recognition for innovation. • Build a creative culture where all employees are actively encouraged to innovate and automate as part of their daily thinking. That means coaches need to understand and communicate to each team member how they can impact the company’s overall WIG’s. (Wildly Important Goals) • Develop employee skills and talents, and prioritize the quality of day-to-day work which HR needs to help coaches lead and direct. • Keep the lines of communication open between coaches and workers and between workers and customers. Chat apps, video conferencing, flexible cloud-based phone services, screen-sharing apps and cloud-based project management tools can help prevent organizational silos. • Utilize technological tools like digital workspace solutions to help employees adapt to a work-from-anywhere approach that often results in amazing things happening. • Identify potential processes that can create barriers to creativity and work to adapt them to encourage innovation. Implementation at Your Organization For many employees, work is no longer a place to which they travel but a space where they’re free to create their best work. Organizations that foster a culture of creativity and innovation, no matter where it happens, create a continuous employee experience. By promoting creativity, workers are more engaged, and engaged employees are more productive. Whether your organization has transitioned to a fully remote workforce or is still figuring out its “new normal,” establishing an environment that promotes creativity and innovation can boost growth and allow employees to deliver groundbreaking solutions that can help you cut costs, improve the customer experience, and create new revenue streams. HR and IT working closely in collaboration, coordination, and execution is an attractive formula to speed your organization down the road to future success. The more you support outside-the-box thinking, the more it becomes an essential part of your organization’s culture and morale. As a byproduct, HR will find this an attractive organizational value for recruiting future employees.