Survey: Employees Key to Innovation-Related Revenue Growth

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Companies that experience the most innovation-related growth may value customer input, but they put a priority on corporate strategy and the ideas of their employees, says a new survey from Detroit-based Plante Moran.

“What we found at the highest levels is a group of organizations we refer to as ‘elite innovators,’” says Gordon Krater, Plante Moran’s managing partner. “Organizations in this tier saw revenue increase by 30 percent or more in the past one to three years due to innovation, which they cite as a vital component of survival.”

The survey, which polled more than 400 organizations in the Midwest, found that the high-performing companies which participated in the survey were most likely to encourage innovation by dedicating a portion of their budget to innovation-related R&D; designing an open work environment with easy access to executives; and providing the tools, training, and programs needed to support innovation.

In contrast, companies that did not experience innovation-related growth said the customer was the No. 1 driver of new ideas for products or services.

Overall, the survey found major differences between the two tiers of companies when considering workplace culture. All of the companies who reported a revenue increase said that their employees feel encouraged to come forward with new ideas, and 96 percent said their employees genuinely believe their company cares about them as well as their clients, customers, and community.

Only 71 percent of companies that did not report innovation-revenue growth said their workers felt valued and that their ideas were encouraged.

Likewise, of the companies considered successful innovators, 42 percent encouraged employees to submit ideas by offering some form of incentive, such as a recognition program or monetary awards. The group of businesses was also more likely to have a formal recognition program, including monthly or annual award ceremonies. Of the organizations that did not see increased revenue from innovation, only 13 percent offer employee incentives for new ideas.

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