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Half of leaders say not enough attention is paid to innovation


Half (49%) of C-suite leaders say not enough attention is being paid to innovation, according to research from Ipsos MORI and leadership, talent and engagement specialist Cirrus Connect

Leadership Connections: HR and the C-suite Driving Innovation found that HR professionals were much more optimistic, with only a quarter (25%) believing that innovation was being neglected within their organisation.

More than two in five (45%) of the C-suite thought that not enough attention was focused on talent management, compared to 34% of HR respondents. Only 1% of managers and 7% of HR professionals said that talent management received too much attention.

In business leaders' opinions the areas HR already contributes strongly to were talent attraction (for 55%), performance management (46%), leadership development (33%), talent retention (32%), and succession planning (32%). Business transformation and cultural change scored lower at 19% and 18% respectively.

The C-suite respondents said that over the next year their priorities will be leadership development (40%), talent attraction and succession planning (34%), talent retention (32%), performance management (27%), business transformation (23%), workforce up-skilling (20%), and cultural change (19%).

Alexandra Holmes, head of learning and development at law firm BLM, said that HR should be brave enough to challenge the C-suite. “We need to work with leaders to identify what leadership behaviours should be,” she said.

Simon Hayward, CEO of Cirrus, said one of the biggest challenges for many large organisations is encouraging a “more entrepreneurial, responsive and risk-taking mindset” among staff.

“This is a huge challenge when the number of colleagues runs into tens or even hundreds of thousands,” he added. “Too often, bureaucracy can get in the way of maintaining a culture where innovation and improvement are valued and people feel confident to experiment without fear of failure. To fuel innovation we need to encourage more collaborative ways of working and increase learning and knowledge sharing.”