There are many ways to use incentives in business to create an increase in innovation within the company without the increase of additional costs. Some of the realms in which incentives can be used to motivate employees include the fostering of teamwork and openness, awareness of balanced competition, company alliances, and focusing on the importance of leisure, family, and health. Through the attentiveness to these aspects of business and implementation of incentives which truly inspire worker creativity, it is possible to support a climate of innovation in the company.
It is important to recognize that in many instances, stimulating innovation does not mean an increase in company costs. Rather, the innovation of workers is driven by a sense of feeling cared for and wanting to do the best for the supportive company within the economic context of the business environment. It is interesting to note that high charged productivity and monetary rewards are often not the best incentives to use in regard to company innovation and sustained growth. Some better incentives focus on the holistic nature of the company, personal relationships, and true worker happiness.
These ideals are what make people invest in a company on a deep and personal level. By taking a look at the value inherent in teamwork, openness, competition, alliances, leisure, family, and health, it is possible to implement incentives in business at no extra cost which truly support the activity and engagement of innovative company workers. Teamwork and Openness It is essential in modern business to determinedly work to create a business environment in which teamwork and openness are central values of the collaborative company unit.
Internally, workers are enthused by the idea that upper management truly values the ideas of the people in the company, and, externally, workers are open to information and suggestions which stem from sources outside of the company. The simple activity of regular interaction in support of the inflow and outflow of knowledge is the foundation of cooperation and a sure motivator for company workers (Chesbrough, Enkel, & Gassmann, 2010). In order to work as a team, as a systemic unit which is corporeal and looking out for the best interests of the company as a whole, it is vital to promote the idea of open discourse and transparency.
The opposite situation, where company workers are overly disconnected and ousted from company decision making, simply creates a work environment which is devoid of respect and energy, inhibiting essential innovation for company growth and prosperity. Workers are best inspired by the ability to have meaningful and considerate discussions with fellow workers, even, and especially, with the top managers and owners. Fostering a sense of teamwork and communication and calling for regular meetings is one of the best ways to ensure that the company is moving forward in building personal relationships with fellow coworkers and clients.
Competition It is interesting to consider competition as a motivator, as competition can be a valuable asset to the innovation surrounding the internal work environment of the company and the external economic context, as well as a plague on worker creativity. Aghion, Bloom, Blundell, Griffith, and Howitt (2005) aptly point out that the correlation of competition and innovation is an inverted U curve, in that when competition is low, innovation is low, when competition is moderate, innovation is high, and when competition is high, innovation is low.
From this information, one can draw the conclusion that the best internal and external environment for the company is one in which the level of competitiveness is kept at a moderate level. When workers experience too little competition within the company or between rival companies, then they are prone to become less innovative. However, when workers are subject to an extreme amount of intense competition in the office and in the external environment, then workers also tend to become less innovative.
The best strategy for a forward thinking and growth oriented company is to keep a sense of balance within the company and between workers as well as between rival companies. In regard to competition, it is true that one can have too little of a good thing, as well as too much. Regular reminders about the competitive nature of the work environment is important in stimulating worker innovation, however, it is important for management to not become fixated and overly aggressive in pursuing a purely competitive company culture.
Alliances In looking at alliances, the interaction between companies, organizations, and government agencies, it is interesting to note the ways in which alliances are better at supporting innovation in companies than mergers and acquisitions. Alliances focus on the concept of teamwork, of drawing closer together in order to better understand how the systemic processes between companies are mutually beneficial.
In the case of company alliances, workers are able to be collaborative and interactive with one another, motivated by one another, whereas in the case of mergers and acquisitions, workers become nervous about losing their jobs and the future prospects of the companies, creating the limiting effect of suspicion and fear (De Man & Duysters, 2005). It is recommended that in every case where two or more companies want to draw closer together, all efforts should be made at joining together via alliances rather than mergers and acquisitions.
In creating friendly alliances with other companies, organizations, and agencies, the desire to engage in open communication and collaboration is fostered and stimulates the innovate energy of the company workers. There can often be nothing worse for company morale than for workers to be apprehensive about the future and doubting of their peers and superiors. It is important to communicate the reasons why the base company tends to associate more or less closely with other companies and to focus on the healthy benefits and rewards which can come about through increasingly integrated company to company interaction and mutual help.
Sometimes, the best way to work with another company is to take the long road towards true cohesion or to simply continue to remain as essentially independent, yet interdependent, organizations. Leisure, Family, & Health It is interesting to note that ways in which companies can support an innovative work environment by paying attention to personal values such as leisure, family, and health.
Looking to Europe as an economic model, due to the fact that they boast the largest amount of successful global companies in the world (United Nations, 2010), it is interesting to note that countries have trimmed down work weeks to under 40 hours, workers are allowed flexible working time and many part time opportunities, workers enjoy benefits such as 6+ weeks of vacation per year and 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, mothers have the ability to take off stay home with their young children for up to 5 years without losing their positions (can return to their former positions), and most people are supplied by their employers with mandatory non-profit health insurance benefits (Drew, Emerek, & Mahon, 1998). In motivating workers without incurring greater costs, it is important to highlight the ways in which benefits such as these promote a sense of wellbeing among company workers.
It is often simply receiving a sense of acknowledgment in regard to necessary stress relievers which can serve to bolster worker morale and creativity. Although work and productivity are important, overall company health and innovation is of greater significance in regard to a stable and flourishing company organism. It is amazing how workers can be inspired to devote more of their creativity energy to the workplace when they know that their leisure, family, and health interests are respected and valued. Progressive companies are assured by the fact that, sometimes, workers are truly better rewarded by several weeks on vacation than by a pay raise. Conclusion
In aiming to increase company innovation through the use of incentives which do not raise company costs, there are many options to choose from. Oftentimes, it is simply a matter of creating a gentler work environment which is more intimate, open, and considerate. In extending thoughtfulness and wellbeing related initiatives to company workers, company owners and managers are often well pleased by the amazing results. Worker happiness and motivation can be bolstered in a wide ranging realm of ways which does not involve company cost increases. By placing value on communication, integration, sincerity, relationships, and healthy living, it is amazing to note the ways in which companies are well served by worker enthusiasm.
One of the simplest ways to begin fostering increased innovation in the company is to begin placing an emphasis on having face to face meetings on a regular basis at the office and to offer an extra week of vacation per year to all workers. Although these small first steps may not be the final answer to stepping up worker motivation, it is a great and simple start. Company managers and owners need to seriously consider the overall welfare of workers as being absolutely positively correlated with the overall welfare of the company. If workers are supported in their wellbeing and perceive to be well nurtured, then the company will reap the benefits of the innovative energy which proceeds from a happy company atmosphere.
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