Want to Build a Culture of Innovation? Give Your Employees More Autonomy

culture of innovation

What kind of workplaces promote innovation?

You can expect employees to drive innovation in environments where there are fewer bureaucratic restraints and many opportunities for calculated risk. Innovation can only happen with a well-structured management system in place. Otherwise, experimentation can become too risky and great ideas might not get implemented.

In a survey by McKinsey, 94% of senior executives said that it’s the people and corporate culture that drive innovation.

Hierarchical structures where the decision-maker is difficult to reach and the decision-making process is not transparent do not foster innovation. That’s why employees need a degree of autonomy to execute actions and set their innovation goals.

Employee autonomy and accountability are the foundation for innovation.

These two values provide the essential framework that supports the innovation process among employees. An autonomous workplace gives individuals and teams ownership of their ideas and grants them the freedom to make key decisions.

Here are 5 tips to help you build a culture of innovation that gives your employees more autonomy.

Explain the ‘why’ behind the goal

The first step for managers who want to instill a greater autonomy among their employees is to explain why the goal assigned to the team has value. Most often, managers tell their employees what they need to do, failing to explain why it’s important or how it fits into the larger picture.

It’s hard to commit to a goal if you don’t see why it’s a good idea in the first place. The value of the goal might not be as obvious to your team as it is to you. So make sure to explain the ‘why’ behind the goal and help employees understand how their actions contribute to the overarching goals of the organization.

Allow employees figure out the ‘how’

Once you set goals for your team, it’s a good idea to allow employees to decide how to reach these objectives. This way, employees will be intrinsically motivated to achieve them. Tailoring their approach according to their skills or preferences will allow employees a greater sense of control over the project.

Feeling a greater control over the project will only boost your employees’ performance. If you’re afraid that giving employees total freedom might be too much, you can start by offering them a choice between two or more options on how to proceed.

Build a trusting environment

Trust is the foundation of autonomy. When employees feel that they’re trusted, they are more willing to put in extra effort and be more creative when working on their tasks.

An employee who feels that their manager trusts them is far more likely to be more engaged in the projects – and it’s only the engaged employees that find the most efficient and innovative solutions to common problems.

That’s why it pays to build an environment based on mutual trust between employees and their supervisors.

Implement ideas on schedule

In many cases, new ideas are pushed aside while the team concentrates on delivering results in line with the standard procedures. That type of workplace culture doesn’t foster innovation. What you need is a culture that fosters proper ownership of ideas. Without that, the implementation of new solutions will become complex and long.

Encourage teams and individual employees to come up with their own solutions to problems. Offer them the creative space they require to generate new ideas and establish solid implementation processes.

Your workplace culture should be characterized by positive accountability where employees feel empowered to accept responsibility and they have all the confidence they need to try and fail.

Senior members of the staff should also align with the same innovation strategy that relates to key business objectives that are transparent across the entire company.

Use the right technological tools

Technology is on its way to revolutionize the workplace, and employee autonomy is no exception. Integrated workplace management software (IWMS) allows team members to easily communicate and put in service requests, reducing the time necessary to acquire resources.

Consider setting up on-demand video conferencing software as well. You can be sure that the process becomes much more collaborative with face-to-face communication. Workers connected through a VPN will be able to easily set up video calls from every location which will also boost productivity and the speed of delivery.

Finally, you should also try project management software where employees are given ownership of their tasks and work in a single platform autonomously, allowing team members to contribute efficiently, boost productivity, and increase project transparency.

Building a culture of innovation is impossible without allowing employees a greater autonomy. Use these 5 tips and you will be on your way to developing a foundation for a workplace culture that celebrates creativity and innovation.

Author’s Bio:

Elizabeth Lee is a business blogger with great interest in strategies to engage and retain both customers and employees. Elizabeth is also a part of the team behind PACK & SEND – experts in logistics. Feel free to verify PACK & SEND on Aubiz.



Elizabeth Lee

Elizabeth Lee is an experienced business blogger, deeply interested in employee engagement and customer relations. Currently supporting PACK & SEND, Elizabeth might often be found sharing her suggestions and strategies with businesses and individuals online. Feel free to follow Elizabeth on @LelizabethLee86.

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