Facets of an ‘innovative & inclusive culture’

Just as saplings need the right soil and temperature to grow, an innovative and inclusive culture is a must for idea generation.

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For any business to succeed, there has to be a free flow of ideas, a willingness to experiment, the ability to think out of the box and innovate. But all this can only happen if the employees in the organisation are given the liberty to express themselves freely and come up with new ideas. After all, it is not enough for just the leaders to think of ways to grow. Their dreams can fructify only if the employees too think on the same lines — think big, think different, and think new. It all boils down to a culture of innovativeness.

However, there are challenges in the form of age, tenure and experience of employees.

So how easy is it to create an innovative culture? Quite easy, if these steps are followed:

Involve everyone

To give rise to a culture of innovativeness, there has to be a culture of involvement in place first. While looking for solutions, each and every person should get a chance to speak, share and contribute. All employees, irrespective of age, position, role or tenure in the organisation should be encouraged to speak up and share their ideas. And the shared ideas should be accepted and worked upon further if they hold promise.

Andleeb Jain

In order to make the newbies comfortable initially, they should be pushed by their respective managers to put forth their ideas in WhatsApp groups, which will help them stand out with confidence in physical meetings too

 

“Create a culture where people and their ideas are welcomed. As leaders, your culture should be one of involving people in various projects. It shouldn’t matter whether the solutions are being sourced from tenured employees or new hires; if the idea is logical, then it should be accepted,” opines Prashant Khullar, VP HR, Max Life Insurance.

Ensure everyone is on the same page

All the employees in the organisation, across functions and departments should be aware of the bigger picture. They should all know what the goal of the organisation is and also who it is targeted at. This will ensure that the ideas generated are sensible and meaningful. This will also help the employees to base their ideas on adequate analysis, weigh the feasibility and even discuss the same with colleagues in other departments before presenting them to the decision makers.

Ashish Chattoraj

Ideas become powerful only when they are backed with financials, so they should back their ideas with a broad cost benefit analysis

“You should know your target, why you are catering to them and what is the ethos of the brand you are working for. You need to have the knowledge of the larger purpose of your organisation,” asserts Khullar.

Bridge the gap between the experienced and the inexperienced

Ideas from new hires tend to get ignored as they are assumed to have less experience.
In the words of Anil Mohanty, head-HR, Medicabazaar, “There is a preconceived notion that whatever a tenured person says will always be correct, as it is based on experience. Hence, the ideas from the new-age work forces are generally ignored.”

But that is not entirely correct. The new hires may lend the much-required fresh perspective. They are willing to take risks and experiment. They are more open to changes, and comfortable with the social media and the trend of digitalisation and automation. Their inputs are invaluable in this day and age. This fact should be accepted by even those who have been in the organisation for long, that is, the ‘experienced’ lot. Invest time on the newcomers and help them settle in fast, so that they can get into action from day one.

As Mohanty rightly puts it, “The newbies are known to be updated and well informed when it comes to digitalisation. They are well acquainted with the new industry norms and are also ardent followers of the social media platform. Hence, they know what new initiatives are being deployed in companies.”

Prashant Khullar

They should be mindful of the fact that the solution that worked for their previous firm, may not work here unless they research and find a way to club their findings with the present company’s working style and ethos

 

Help new hires blend in

It may be a good idea to allow the new joinees to get a taste of each and every department. After all, it makes sense for them to work in an area where they fit in perfectly, in terms of their talent, interest and potential. Provide them opportunities to interact with peers and also the senior leadership. This will instil in them a sense of belongingness.

“Companies should actually design some programmes for the newbies where they have the liberty to move around and test various departments before they are sure of the best fit for them. In the meantime, the managers too can gauge the best department for each one of them based on their potential,” opines Andleeb Jain, CHRO, JK Cement.

Ask them to present their ideas or share their ideas with others, may be on a common platform. This will help them gain confidence. Such opportunities will encourage them to prepare well, and may be even try testing their ideas with colleagues. During this process, they can be encouraged to back their ideas with concrete figures and numbers, and also people.

“But first they need to display courage and conviction. Ideas become powerful only when they are backed with financials, so they should back their ideas with a broad cost benefit analysis,” opines Ashish Chattoraj, CHRO, PayU India.

Jain feels, “In order to make the newbies comfortable initially, they should be pushed by their respective managers to put forth their ideas in WhatsApp groups, which will help them stand out with confidence in physical meetings too. And post that, if their ideas are well received, then they should present them with full confidence.”

“The trainees should also work on establishing the credibility of their ideas and talk points.

Anil Mohanty

The newbies are known to be updated and well informed when it comes to digitalisation. They are well acquainted with the new industry norms and are also ardent followers of the social media platform

They should support their views with numbers and examples. Not every day does one get a chance to share one’s thoughts with the company lords. Hence, they should always work on establishing the credibility of their talks with proper numbers, examples and hypothesis.

Their presentation should be backed by thorough research, and authentic data,” adds Jain.

Trainees should be made to realise that the working style of their previous company would be different from that of the present one. Therefore, “They should be mindful of the fact that the solution that worked for their previous firm, may not work here unless they research and find a way to club their findings with the present company’s working style and ethos,” explains Khullar.

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