When you consider which industries enjoy the greatest employee innovation, many people would first think of electronics manufacturing. With household names such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), InterDigital, Broadcom Corporation, and SanDisk, not only tech-savvy consumers follow these brands, but the average person likely knows which type of microprocessor is in his computer. And I’m sure everyone can think of a person who has to have the latest gadgets with the latest gear.
But while companies such as Volterra Semiconductor Corporation, Pinnacle Data Systems, Valpey-Fisher Corporation, and Teradyne may not be household names, they share something in common with those companies listed above: they rank as all-stars on the list of America’s Most Productive Companies in one of the most competitive and innovative sectors.
The word “innovation” often evokes images of secret laboratories, major breakthroughs, and home-run products. Most productivity gains, however, are the result of incremental improvements to—and fine tuning of—existing business processes. Although the home runs grab the headlines, the singles, doubles, and walks can add up to significant gains over time with a much lower investment.
America’s Most Productive Companies (AMPC) are likely to encourage an exchange of ideas among employees, managers, and leaders to make the business more competitive. When employees and managers have open lines of communication, employees become more invested in the organization’s well-being.
When respondents to the AMPC survey were asked whether their company is innovative in adapting to change, 72% of AMPC-ranked companies agreed as compared to only 51% of non-AMPC companies.
Actions speak louder than words
Open communication and a spirit of teamwork are essential to identifying innovation opportunities. Engagement and productivity actually suffer, however, when the organization sets expectations and then fails to deliver on recommendations.
The Most Productive Companies typically do a better job of putting ideas into action than their peers. This is possible because they run with fewer employees and continually innovate. As we mentioned before, they typically add employees only when absolutely necessary.
Management is attuned to improvement opportunities and leadership makes investment decisions quickly when a compelling case can be made for investing in new opportunities.
In short, employee innovation is everyone’s business, not just that of the R&D department.
Five Actions for Rising to the AMPC Standard
- Getting information in a timely and truthful manner that gives early indications if and when change is necessary, and what kind of change is necessary.
- Building a culture that is focused on action and results as opposed to command, control, and complacency.
- Communicate regular updates of important change programs and publicize examples of the small things that employees have done or can do to help the company adapt to change.
- Select employees who are comfortable with and thrive on change and share the need to continually evolve—or get left behind.
- Get ahead of the curve by encouraging employees to learn about new developments in society and how these may impact the organization in the future.
Learn more about employee innovation and America’s Most Productive Companies.
Edited by: Jeff Meyers