It’s not enough for employees to show up at their jobs, do their work, and go home. Employees are now expected to be engaged. That means caring about what they do beyond a paycheck.
If you’re thinking, “But I feel like most of my employees don’t care that much about what we do,” then you’re not alone. Although U.S. employee engagement numbers are at an all-time high since engagement tracking began, over 60% of U.S. employees still don’t consider themselves engaged in the workplace.
Employee disengagement is a definite epidemic, but how do we address it? At AllenComm, we suggest innovation—in onboarding, in training, in workplace equipment and technology. Let’s talk about some of the ways innovation creates employee engagement.
How Innovation Engages Employees
Innovation wards off complacency
Have you ever gotten to the point where you felt like you could do something in your sleep, only to later realize that you’d gotten so comfortable, you really weren’t performing at your highest level? When we don’t keep growing and changing, we can stagnate. Or—and this happens to a lot of SMEs—we become so focused on keeping things the way they are that we become resistant to change of any kind.
Focusing on innovation keeps your employees out of a complacent mindset. They know nothing is forever, and they become more agile and adaptable in their roles. They may even start looking for new ways to do things on their own—even to the point of suggesting innovations themselves.
Innovation keeps employees learning
Lifelong learning is big right now, and with good reason—over the years, studies have shown many benefits in continued learning. However, not every employee is going to return to school for a graduate degree or additional certification. They may not travel, take community classes, or read books. For some, that leaves a job as the only avenue for lifelong learning.
In other words, don’t be afraid to require new things of employees or to ask them to use a different piece of software. Studies show learning on the job helps keep employees fulfilled and thus engaged.
Innovation creates ongoing interest
A television show called Miraculous Ladybug is notorious for having hardly any significant plot changes. At the end of each supervillain fight, the superhero Ladybug uses a magical yoyo to return everything back to the way it was before. Frustrated fans have taken to calling this plot device the “status quo yo.”
You don’t want your workplace to become as predictable and unsatisfying as an episode of Miraculous Ladybug. If the status quo is currently king, change that by introducing a more efficient process or an updated piece of technology. Otherwise, your employees may start interviewing elsewhere, citing “a need for new challenges” as their reason for switching jobs.
Innovation is a great tool for employee engagement. With the right innovations, you can address complacency, provide learning, and keep employees interested in their roles.