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Innovation key to retaining skilled workers, report finds

Tom Newcombe , 07 Jun 2013

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HR departments must "think bigger" on innovation if they want to retain their most talented employees, a report by Futurestep, a Korn/Ferry company, has found.

Exploring the potential impact of innovative methods in recruiting, developing and engaging staff, the study of more than 4,000 skilled workers from around the world revealed nearly half are prepared to quit a job they're happy in if they feel they are being let down on promises around innovation.

Almost half (44%) of those surveyed said they are "likely" to look around for another role if the fail to see innovation within their company.

The report also showed employers have a window of just six months to deliver on innovative ways to engage and develop their people.

A further four in 10 employees confirmed that "phantom innovation" would make them feel negatively about a brand as a whole.

Companies including Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and Facebook are cited as "innovation idols". Workers around the globe want to see innovation from day one, but they are ready and willing to give back.

The study confirmed that in today's competitive market, innovation can turn the head of the happiest employee. Two thirds of employees said they would leave a role if they were targeted with a job that offered more innovative benefits, while 55% would leave a role they are happy in if approached in a particularly innovative way.

"The idea of innovation clearly sparks the imagination of today's professionals," said Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of Futurestep. "Workers define innovation as three things; change, improvement and forward thinking, and they're looking for employers to demonstrate all three of those from the very first time they come into contact."

He added: "What is increasingly important, particularly for global companies is that the way you communicate with future, current and former employees can have a huge impact on how they think of your brand as a whole. It goes beyond employment and can actually affect the way they think about your brand as a consumer too - and they'll share that view with friends and family too."

The global report, which also surveyed more than 800 recruitment and talent management professionals, found that 74% of them believe that their organisation needs to be doing more to demonstrate innovation in their recruitment and talent management.

And 78% believe innovation in recruitment and talent management is key to delivering growth targets across the business.

Neil Griffiths, global practice lead employer brand and talent communications, Futurestep, said: "Innovation is not just watching and observing the latest trend, or experimenting with the latest social media application - it is applying techniques and ideas to enhance your company culture, compliment the way your people behave in their world of work and ultimately support you to achieve your business goals.

"This means that innovation in HR looks different across companies and countries- but the fact remains that employees in the UK have made it very clear that they expect their HR functions to be figuring out what it looks like in their business."

 

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Innovation: revolution or evolution?

Jim Sproat 07 Jun 2013

I'd just like to make a simple point regarding innovation: it tends to be incremental, as opposed to Eureka! Innovative companies create a culture which welcomes "the shock of the new" and have systematic ways to enable continuous improvement, which often comes from an idea that needs development and deliberation. "Dumb" ideas are therefore always welcome in the best companies!

Innovation Research

Paul Rein 07 Jun 2013

Please see this link to an open-access study into the barriers organisations are facing in driving innovation: http://turing.ieor.berkeley.edu/cde-instances/ZVJV7580MCXIF9OB/# Thought leaders in innovation representing companies including Thomson Reuters, eBay, Lloyds TSB, KPMG and Virgin have initiated the collaborative discussion - follow the link above to have your say.

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