Is your staff reward program unconsciously destroying your teams appetite for innovation and risk?
• Service based awards? Sorted
• Hit the sales target awards? Tick
• Employee of the month recognition? Tick
• Training, health & wellness and safety rewards? Got ’em
• Innovation rewards? Oops… forgot that one
Have you considered whether your business needs to reward staff for failure?
Disruption is one of the most commonly heard words in business in 2015 and in order to be leading the disruption your business needs to embrace innovation. Innovation only comes from inspiration and effort but sometimes these efforts fail. If your staff are actively recognised for contributing new ideas and suggestions that will contribute to building an innovative culture.
An article in Training Mag, outlines Gerard Tellis’s philosophy around nurturing a culture of innovation through “incentives for enterprise”. Whilst it was written a little while ago, the message is even more relevant as business strives to be the beneficiary not the victim of disruption. Let’s be honest the voyage to innovation is about uncertainty, seeking out the unknown and risk, failure is common. If this exploration is deemed to be potentially detrimental to their career prospects by an employee, or likely to result in punishment for failure, innovation will be completely stifled.
To create and foster a culture of innovation, employees need to be recognised and rewarded for developing and implementing innovations with strong rewards for success and weak penalties for failure. If employees are allowed to learn from their failures rather than being punished they will continue to pursue and develop innovations.
In reality this brings us back to the fact that any reward program must start with an alignment to organisational objectives. Does your business need to innovate to survive and thrive. Too many employee reward and incentive programs are one dimensional and only focus on individual business components like sales targets, cost savings or years of service.
It is essential that your staff reward program recognises and rewards other types of behaviour –behaviours which marry to the overall goals, aspirations and mission of an organisation. If innovation, new products and new ideas are essential for your survival than ensure your reward and recognition program nurtures not stifles these innovations.