The method by which you measure people inevitably affects the results – this is true for innovation. Organizations will nurture a culture of innovation if they reward (and measure) innovative thinking and behaviour.
There are many ways to recognize employee contributions in this regard. The most obvious include a raise in salary, promotions and bonuses. Unfortunately not many organizations measure, track and reward those that are innovative or contribute to the organizations innovative culture.
Recognition can take the form of public awards – department wide or corporate wide – allowing employees to be noticed by their employer and their peers for their hard work and efforts. This can help create role models for others and encourages more involvement in innovation initiatives. It also gives something for people to believe in.
At the same time organizations don’t want to rely purely on incentives and recognition to continue a pattern and culture. For example, children are rewarded for good behaviour by being given stickers or stars but the thing that is most effective long term is the pattern created by positive reinforcement. At some point you want to remove the connection to the physical rewards (the stars and stickers) and go forward with praise or a learned pattern of behaviour. ‘People will innovate for financial gain or for competitive advantage, but this can be self-limiting. There needs to be an emotional component as well – a source of inspiration that motivates people.’ CEO of P&G Bob McDonald
Employees are recognized for the work they are measured on. Successful organizations consider the work that isn’t in an employee’s performance appraisals – this is what contributes to an innovative culture. Consider rewarding the behaviours you want to see while working on an emotional draw to continue that behaviour if the formal reward system is no longer in place. This will help ensure continuous innovative culture.