‘Innovate or else’ demand employees

‘Innovate your HR or we will walk’ is the take home message from a Futurestep survey of more than 4,000 employees worldwide.

Nearly half of all respondents said they were giving their employer six months to deliver innovative ways to engage talent and develop people in meaningful ways or they would start looking for new opportunities.

Google, Facebook and Apple topped the list of companies employees and employers identified as innovative and progressive. However, only 37% regarded their own employer as innovative.

More than half said they would feel more positive about their employer if they used innovative work practices and 49% said they would be encouraged to apply for a job which used innovative recruitment methods. Topping the wish list for innovative work practices for talent management was creating online professional communities and online talent communities.

Change resistance biggest barrier

Resistance to change was perceived to be a bigger barrier to innovation than cost. However, 27% of respondents doubted their organisation had the experience to be innovative.

Professionals in emerging market countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China placed higher importance on innovation, with 85% reporting it was important for staff development. This compared to 67% of respondents in developed nations like the UK.

Futurestep Australia’s head of assessment Kim Severinsen said the disparity was probably due to prevalence of “invention and innovation” in the former as “traditional hierarchies and structure aren’t necessarily in place in those nations”.

Futurestep India MD Rao Yadavilli said age differences were also playing a significant role. He said 80% of Indian employees were aged 30 or younger which was creating “a real opportunity to leverage emerging technologies both to connect and engage with talent pools”.

More than just innovative recruitment practices, 76% of respondents also wanted to see their employer engaging staff and retaining staff with innovative practices. Of those, nearly half said they would feel more motivated to perform if their employer demonstrated innovation. Only 4% of respondents said they “experienced innovation”.

Futurestep VP of HR Adam Mesh said employers needed to not look purely at the bottom line of innovation. He said the flow on effects of innovation, including increased engagement and productivity, needed to be included in any cost-benefit assessment. “When people hear the word innovative, they don’t think cost savings or doing the same thing for less money. But you need to offset [cost] against the performance and productivity gains of being innovative. That 80% of candidates say innovative methods motivate to perform better is testament to the power – and potential ROI – of innovation,” he said.

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