Innovation is the driving force behind much organizational success. Innovative ideas can come from anyone in an organization, but the organization needs to be listening to hear them. That means listening to everyone, including workers who are not employees.
In our research comparing independent workers (contractors, freelancers, etc.) with regular employees, we found independent workers to be notably more innovative than the majority of employees, and almost as innovative as high-potential employees (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – click to enlarge (Source: Your best workers may not be your employees)
Innovation was measured with behaviors like risk-taking and challenging the status quo. Organizations that choose to enlist the help of independent workers might find them to be natural innovators.
Yet innovative ideas can only be harvested from the workforce (independent workers and employees) if organizations have a way of listening for them.
Employee listening programs offer a critical way for…
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