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Exclusive: Employees want financial rewards for innovation but employers are slow on the uptake


Employees want to be financially rewarded for generating ideas for their business but employers are failing to consider innovation when developing their reward strategies.

As the economy moves towards businesses based on ideas, creativity and innovation, HR will need to find new ways of incentivising and rewarding staff, according to a study of 3,500 employees, 100 HR managers and 100 IT managers across the UK, France, Germany, the US and Japan, conducted by the Future Foundation on behalf of Google.

Nearly six in 10 employees surveyed said they would already be coming up with more creative ideas for their employers if they were rewarded for them. Financial reward is the most attractive incentive for employees (45%) with recognition for their achievements second (39%).

"Only 15% of employees say they have a bonus scheme directly linked to ideas and such schemes still usually hinge on sales," says Future Foundation account director Judith kleine Holthaus.

"It is important for businesses to put down a signal related to innovation and for employees this is around reward."

This is vital for the future as the study concludes that by 2020 the workplace will be transformed by the sharing and development of ideas. It finds an 81% positive correlation between collaboration and innovation across all markets. In the UK employees who are given the opportunity to collaborate at work are nearly twice as likely to have contributed new ideas to their companies.

Nearly half of employees said their company had systems in place to allow for the contribution of ideas and 45% would welcome a system that monitored their productivity day to day in order to reward them accordingly. Two thirds would welcome greater legislation to protect their pay and reward in relation to ideas they create while XX believe reward systems will become more flexible in the next five years.

"There is paradox between individualisation and collaboration in business," said Carsten Sørensen, senior lecturer in information systems and innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "There is a naïve assumption that collaboration means we all want the same thing but individuals want their own thing – in this case reward for their work."

For more on HR’s role in the future workplace, click here

52% of UK HR executives say HR is responsible to identifying reward schemes that will improve levels of innovation

44% believe HR will need to have a better understanding of technology in the next 10 years

21% of staff say there is no process for contributing ideas and their employer does not encourage them to do so