UK businesses not listening to employees’ ideas

UK businesses not listening to employees’ ideas

Research reveals that the typical UK business ignores 18,000 ideas a year, missing out on opportunities to boost their bottom line, engage staff and drive customer satisfaction.

The research, which surveyed cross-sector organisations with an average of 5,200 employees, as part of the EveryDay Innovation Report, reveals that the average UK worker typically suggests six innovative ideas to improve the business each year. Less than half of these ideas (43 percent) are acknowledged by their employers, meaning that thousands of ideas and opportunities to improve are being missed by UK organisations.

On the upside, of the ideas that are acknowledged by a business, more than one in three (39 percent) are implemented and positively impact the way the organisation works. This proves the urgent need for a culture of innovation to be baked into the everyday working practices of an entire organisation, otherwise known as EveryDay Innovation.

Why are so many ideas lost?
The research exposes a clear lack of processes within businesses to harness employee ideas effectively. More than half (52 percent) of employees believe that although their organisation is full of people with great ideas, there is no established process for ideas to be shared and filtered.59 percent of respondents reported that suggestions they make about improving business processes often go totally unnoticed. Many UK businesses are also failing to establish cultures that foster and promote innovation across the workforce. 65 percent of employees believe not enough is done to encourage them to contribute in the innovation process.

In terms of the key challenges for workers in sharing ideas, a lack of innovation culture comes out on top with 37 percent saying that shared ideas are lost or unacknowledged; 27 percent saying there’s a lack of interest in employee ideas: and 27 percent saying there’s a lack of incentives to share ideas in the first place. Stuart Eames, Operational Improvement Managerat Waitrose said, “I would urge all businesses to take innovation into the centre of everything they do, so it’s accessible for all, in order to capitalise on the wealth of ideas at their fingertips. “In just 18 months, Wazoku’s idea management platform has enabled us to generate significant cost-savings through the initial wave of ideas implemented. We’ve received an average of over 22 innovative new ideas a week since launch, demonstrating just how engrained innovation now is into everyday working life across the organisation.” Unlocking EveryDay Innovation: The research also demonstrates a general belief among UK employees in the value of working productively and collaboratively and in using their skills to impact business objectives. 91 percent of senior and middle managers, 91 percent of managers and 87 percent of non-managers agree that small ideas can make a big difference to a business.

The EveryDay Innovation Report argues that more needs to be done to assure employees that they can personally impact business objectives with innovative ideas. To tap into their knowledge, the innovation conversation for businesses must become more focused around driving tangible results, fuelling growth and creating competitive advantage.Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku said: “EveryDay Innovation is a war cry for organisations who understand that they need to innovate but despite their best efforts, are still struggling to turn their aspirations into action. It is an ethos, a new perspective and a guide for every organisation seeking to embed a high-performing culture of innovation.”

Cris Beswick, Innovation Expert and Guest Lecturer at Cranfield University added, “Innovation is like teenage sex; everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it.Through my work with CEOs and senior teams in a variety of settings, I know how important the first step is as organisations start to make innovation a real part of everyday business life. That’s why the EveryDay Innovation Report stands out. It goes beyond reinforcing the importance of innovation for business, and actually starts to address that all important ‘how to’ question.”

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