6 Methods for Encouraging Risk-Taking in the Workplace

Taking risks is an essential ingredient in the recipe for business success – “you gotta risk it for the biscuit,” as they put it in the movie Fired Up! Without risk-taking, you probably wouldn’t have launched your business endeavour in the first place...

Risk-taking is also directly linked to innovative behaviour, since developing new ideas and products which potentially have never been tried or tested before, is in the true sense of the words "risky business!"

Here are six ways to cultivate a culture of innovation in your workplace by encouraring risk-taking: 

1. Recruit risk-takers

Several steps can be taken to build an environment that promotes innovation, but it counts for very little if the people within the company are not prepared to actively take risks. Stats show that 84% of executives consider innovation to be essential for the future of their companies. 

Placing an added emphasis on recruiting candidates that are ready to take risks and embrace innovation will provide a stronger platform to support all subsequent innovation methods. For example, one tool that exists to test risk appetite in applicants during the hiring process is the Risk Type Compass assessment. It evaluates an individual's comfort with risk-taking and helps employers to identify the right candidates for certain roles.


2. Create a safe environment for risk-taking

In the business world it is well-known that up to 95% of product innovations fail. So, risk-takers are virtually guaranteed to encounter failures while innovating. Cultivating a culture that revolves around psychological safety and embraces failure as a step en route to success, will transform the company dynamics forever. 

Using tools like KICKBOX ensures that employees are able to learn from their failed innovations so that certain risks can be mitigated in future endeavors. When supported by the organization, failure will no longer be feared.


3. Promote bottom-up innovation

Risk-taking started as soon as you had an idea for your business. Frankly, a company-wide buy-in is the only way you will continue to embrace risk-taking in an effective manner. Swisscom’s approach to bottom-up innovation is a great example of how risk-taking can be supported at all levels. Swisscom's KICKBOX program allows all employees to submit their ideas, whilst the company provides them with funding and support to turn these ideas into reality. This approach fosters a culture of innovation and risk-taking, where employees feel safe to try new things without fear of failure. 

Unfortunately, many companies fall into the trap of losing innovators at the junior levels who feel unable to have their voices heard. With KICKBOX, several obstacles are removed, allowing all employees to be part of the innovation process.


4. Allow for creative thinking within the workday

Risk-taking is largely about trying new ideas. If your employees do not have an opportunity to leave the comfort zone of their standard daily duties, innovation will suffer. Google famously uses the 20% rule to encourage innovation in the workplace. Your business can benefit greatly from adopting a similarly flexible approach to work.

Allowing people to take time from their standard workday when ideas surface is vital. It encourages them to work on their innovations while the concepts are fresh. This will position them better to take risks and push forward with those projects.


5. Start small and grow from there

Risk-taking may seem like a daunting prospect for many of your employees. When first introducing this concept, try to work on small ideas such as developing a new accessory to enhance an existing product. Following this, you can think about ways to innovate at scale. In turn, this should feed into your immediate and long-term objectives.

You can promote the idea of taking small steps to the next level as you move onto financial risk, strategic risk, or business disruption risk. Thanks to AI and advanced tech, you can often run a demo or simulation of an idea before deciding whether to pursue it.


6. Reward risk-takers

Finally, if you want to cultivate a culture where risk-taking is the norm, you must incentivize team members to do this. Bonuses, promotions, perks, and career growth are all great options. Aside from actively promoting further risk, it can aid staff retention. After all, 79% of people that quit cite a lack of appreciation as the driving force.

KICKBOX is an ideal solution because it records each person’s input while the collaborative nature creates a healthy sense of competition. And when risk-takers are rewarded, their colleagues will be inspired to do the same.

rready can provide you and your team with the necessary resources to foster innovation within your organization. If you're prepared to revolutionize your business in every way, by cultivating innovation and encouraging risk-taking feel free to contact us.

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