Dana Hirn Mueller
Workplace innovations are a valuable tool which can help improve employee satisfaction and workplace conditions which in turn often improves productivity and company output. In other words, the ability for employees to develop and submit innovations to their employer along with their employer’s openness to reviewing and implementing these innovations can be critical. Despite the many potential benefits of employee innovation, employees frequently experience roadblocks when considering and submitting these ideas. The current project focused on the potential pitfalls employed college students may encounter when submitting innovations in their place of work. Data was collected through an online survey where participants were asked about their history of submitting workplace innovations, which was defined as, “any idea that could benefit you as an employee or the company/organization you work for.” Results suggest that participants rarely submit innovative ideas for consideration by their employer. The most commonly cited reasons for not submitting workplace innovations included doubt that the ideas would be taken seriously, submitting the ideas would be a waste of time, and that submitting workplace innovations may, ironically, jeopardize their employment. The data gathered in the current project is in line with previous research which suggests that the obstacles employees encounter in the innovation submission process are pervasive. The directions for future research are numerous. Specifically, future projects should include an exploration of the development of best-practice methods for soliciting, evaluating, and potentially implementing workplace innovations championed by employees or possibly taking a close look at innovation programs currently in place.