The pandemic has forced us all to adapt, get creative and work outside our comfort zones in both our business and personal lives.
This was true when almost half of the entire UK workforce switched to working remotely in a matter of weeks, when we replaced seeing our friends with virtual quizzes and as we return to socially distanced workplaces.
We’ve all become accustomed to new ways of living and many of these new approaches are here for the long term.
It’s true that in all walks of life there are people that are reluctant to change and others who fear it, but even these people have been shoved quite harshly out of their comfort zone and into new ways of doing things all for a collective cause.
For many organisations, its the reaction of those who are resistant to change that usually results in things staying the same. People who think outside the box or challenge the status quo are sometimes frowned upon for rocking the boat and conflicts can form between those accepting of change and those opposed to it.
However, the pandemic has not only rocked the boat, it’s caused a massive tidal wave and thrown most of the passengers from the boat!
Things have changed dramatically, whether we like it or not, and this undeniable shift presents the perfect opportunity to improve, to innovate and to do things differently within business.
The approach to innovation and change will be unique to every organisation but there are a few steps to kick start the process.
1. Analyse your current approach
Start by looking at how you currently do things, this could be business wide or in a specific area of the operation. No matter how successful a business is, there are usually some processes in place that are done because they’ve always been done that way, not because they’re the most efficient way of doing things. Now is the time to identify these elements that require improvement no matter how big or small the task will be. Start building a comprehensive list as this will become the case for change.
2. Involve the team
If you’re looking to improve company wide, getting the input of your employees will not only help you to identify issues more quickly but it will also help get their buy in for future change. When employees understand why a change is being made and are part of the process for planning and implementing the change, it allows for a better chance for successful implementation.
Innovation and change can be costly. Whether you’re developing a new product or service, or upgrading internal systems, it all comes at a price at a time when many businesses are tightening their purse strings. Once you’ve built that comprehensive list of ideas divide them into two categories; the ideas that will require investment and those which are more of a behavioural change. Once you have differentiated the two types of idea you can begin to prioritise them according to what’s most business critical.
4. Identify effective solutions
This is another opportunity to involve employees. Whether you’re changing an internal process, looking to improve customer satisfaction, or finding ways to reduce costs, your employees have the experience and knowledge to help with the planning and implementation of the change process. Allocating a time frame for the implementation and communicating this with employees will help to ensure everyone is kept in the loop as things progress.
5. Create a culture of continuous improvement
Innovation is important all the time, it’s how businesses stay at the top of their game so establishing a culture of continuous improvement and equipping your staff with the tools and confidence to innovate will help with this. It’s the responsibility of management to encourage innovative thinking, to remove barriers preventing change and to celebrate the positive outcomes that change brings from a customer and employee perspective. This will build a culture that empowers employees to think outside the box.
We’ve seen how quickly businesses have adapted in order to carry on trading, with restaurants increasing their takeout options, shops installing screens and one way systems and distilleries producing antibacterial gel. We’ve seen innovation in medicine and organisations uniting to help the greater good.
This is all evidence that we have a perfect opportunity to improve our businesses and ensure they’re stronger than ever once the economy fully recovers.
If you’ve seen examples of innovation or your business has made significant changes to ride out the pandemic, we’d love to hear from you! Tweet us at @h_resourcing