Employee Recognition

3 ways employee recognition can drive innovation

employee recognition can drive innovation2019 is nearly upon us. If the Jetsons were right, by now, a Monday morning would consist of breakfast prepared by a robot, a commute to the office via a flying car and greetings from a manager who has apparently mastered the art of digital employee recognition.The popular cartoon series from the sixties might have been wrong about our Monday mornings (they’re still hard), but they weren’t far off the mark in predicting a workplace where recognition creates an environment for innovation to thrive.

Whilst we don’t recommend following Mr Spacely’s “creative” employee recognition strategy at Spacely Sprockets, companies who have successfully implemented healthy recognition programs are certainly seeing the results.

British based market research company, the Cicero Group, recently found that employees who receive regular and meaningful recognition are proactively innovating 33% more than their peers.

In fact, Cicero’s research goes on to say that employees felt that sincere and meaningful recognition had more of an effect on their loyalty, performance and ability to produce good work consistently within their roles than what an additional 5% salary bonus would.

That might appear surprising, but the truth is, being told consistently that you’re doing a great job does more for your motivation to succeed, innovate and grow than what a small financial reward once a year might do.

Knowing that recognition helps foster innovation, the question becomes how?

Well, here are 3 things to keep in mind for your employee recognition program, if you’re aiming to drive innovation and employee engagement.

1. Recognise as often as you can

Something George Jetson and crew nearly got right in their depiction of today, was the world of instant information we surround ourselves with.

The latest tweets, emails, WhatsApp messages or social media notifications on our smartphones keep many of us occupied for large portions of the day.

We’ve grown accustomed to receiving lots of information, about ourselves and others, regularly.

So recognising your employees just once a year on their work anniversary, or awarding your employee of the month with a pat on the back and a slice of cake won’t do much to drive innovation within your business.

Employees who receive recognition on a regular basis are proven to be more engaged within their companies.

As instant as a tweet or facebook post, as soon as someone goes above and beyond their role, they should be recognised for it.

The regular recognition encourages a positive company culture where staff feel engaged and motivated to improve and innovate in their roles.

Wondering what a sustainable employee recognition program looks like? Well, we wrote the book on it. No, seriously, take a look at our FREE comprehensive 10 step guide to building an employee recognition program here.


2. Celebrate failure as much as success

Innovation very seldom arrives at the first attempt. In fact, Soichiro  Honda, founder of the Japanese motoring company famously claimed that:

"Success is 99% failure."

employee recognition can drive innovationMr Honda was right. Innovation more often than not arrives after a failed experiment or idea. The post-it notes you see scattered across your desk and office for example only came to be by accident.

The glue found at the back of each note was created unintentionally. Yet today, 3M (the world's largest post-it note manufacturer) sells a staggering 50 billion Post-It notes across 100 countries every year!

We’re all accustomed to celebrating success for an individual or a team project. But if we’re aiming to encourage recognition within our workplace, we should be celebrating failure just as often.

Not every idea or project will work out the way it was hoped to. Celebrating the lessons, and experience gained from every failure, and most importantly positively recognising those who led the idea is key to creating a culture that recognises and encourages innovation within the workplace.

3. Recognise your employees in front of others

Humans love receiving a compliment in front of an audience, and we don’t just have social media to thank for that!

Employees feel that recognition of creative thinking and innovation in front of their peers often acts as social proof to one another that they are excelling in what they do.

As humans, we often imagine ourselves in other people's shoes. Hearing, or seeing stories of others who are succeeding or achieving praise is often more trustworthy than reading the statistics in a company document or online.

When others are able to see innovation being rewarded, seeking innovative ideas often becomes the norm. Doing wonders for your employee’s motivation and employee engagement.

Do you have an employee recognition idea that drives innovation within your workplace? Feel free to share it below in the comments!

employee recognition